Fashion is a just a big ol’ cycle as we all know. What issa madness to us right now was once – in some form or other – hip or cool or rad to another generation before us. For this reason I have decided to add the category I call ‘Days of the Future Past’ to pay homage to the greatness our fathers and mothers and their parents before them gifted us.
Today, we’re going on The Hippest Trip in America: The Soul Train. Started by Don Cornelius in 1969 in a cramped attic studio in Chicago with Don’s three years broadcasting experience and the success of the series of high school record hops he’d hosted, going on to become a national hit when it started airing nationwide in 1971; Soul Train became the authority on Black culture, fashion and music. Youth looked to the Soul Train Line for the boldest, hippest and coolest fashions.
One day, Papa Bear was telling me about the good ole days (I was so jealous; they had the most funnnn 😍😍😭😭) and Soul Train came up. He even busted some moves, and he pulled up a video and the first thing I noticed was the hair. Big BIG hair. EVERYWHERE. Perms and ‘fros; they screamed at me. And the braids, Dear God, the BRAIDS!! So many lengths and cornrows and beads, I was spoiled for choice. These kids weren’t subtle.
Don Cornelius himself rocked a fly ‘fro and the maestro Stevie Wonder had cornrows and beads yo!
If you’ve seen the Wild Thoughts video, then you’ve seen Rihanna be her beautiful iconic self.
Well, she went back in time and we can only say Thank you Soul Train!!
The 70s and 80s were ablaze with print and colour and cut. Halters, hot pants, palazzos, crop tops, platforms, vests, snazzy jackets; name it, they had it and subtle was not something they did.
The guys were bold too. The Soul Train era was one where boldness went both sexes. It was like there was an unspoken competition for the boldest, hippest outfit in the room and everyone brought their A-est game. These men would not under any circumstances be outdone.
The makeup was bold too; think electric blues and bright purplesand pinks and greens and (yes, keep thinking. Let your mind run). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a picture that accurately captured this (I’m sorry 😭😭).
The Soul Train era was a gift Don Cornelius gave Black culture and it’s influence continues to beat. Sadly, the best baritone music impresario (as Papa Bear refers to him); Don Cornelius took his own life a couple of years back. May his soul rest in peace.
The 70s and 80s gave us a bold and cool and flamboyant. And we are forever grateful.