Now, Hill said, the entertainment culture has shifted, where shows featuring black culture are no longer owned solely by African Americans, he said.
"To some extent Soul Train's legacy is partially dependent on people who didn't create it, who may not be as committed to the culture as its original creators," Hill said.
Gibbs acknowledged that it is not easy to continue a television show's brand beyond its lifetime on television — and there are few shows that have. But he said he's certain it can happen for "Soul Train."
"I think that dance, fashion and music, the best of music, are really the tent poles for 'Soul Train' going forward. I believe those things are enduring just as the ideas and ideals of love, peace and soul are enduring," Gibbs said.
Whatever the future of the show and its progeny, black independent media — what was the "germ" of "Soul Train" — are increasing their foothold in American mainstream culture, Neal said. Radio show producers Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden and Issa Rae, creator of the Web-produced show "The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl" are carrying on the "Soul Train" legacy and "all benefitting from something Don Cornelius set in motion with Soul Train," Neal said.
"When all is said and done, he wanted to be able to present black acts on television on what he saw as its most organic context .... He understood correctly there was an interest for that well beyond black communities," Neal said.
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Online: Soul Train: http://www.soultrain.com
Centric TV: http://www.centrictv.com
Black Entertainment Television: http://www.bet.com
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