You just know yours truly Venom couldn’t see the end of February come without making another article for WWETV. To end off Black History Month, Worldwide Entertainment TV looks back at the most successful black musical family of all-time. There is no denying that the time period of the 1960’s and 1970’s was very critical as it had a profound affect on Black Americans with their advancement in society. As it has been well documented the birth of Motown Records gave the world the music of icons from the culture that would radiate decades later. Berry Gordy created the Motown Sound and legends which was recently honored by Jennifer Lopez at the Grammys.
The impact of Motown can’t be contained in only one documentary which is why there are plenty of films about the importance of the label. Berry Gordy paved the way for the likes of Diddy, Master P, Suge Knight, and all of the 90’s hip hop moguls that helped to shape today’s independent landscape.
There were many acts that would capture the fans imagination ranging from Diana Ross who I labeled as “The Original Diva“, Marvin Gaye, and the penmanship of Smokey Robinson. However, there was one act that would end up transcending generations through a musical family empire. When Berry Gordy saw a young Michael Jackson, he forever knew that he was witnessing the future of music’s trajectory. The Jackson 5ive came and stole the show on Motown and never looked back.
The 1992 mini series entitled “The Jacksons: An American Dream” illustrated exactly what it was like to grow up in the 1960’s. It was a great story showing how Joe Jackson along with his wife Katherine Jackson helped to propel the careers of icons such as Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson.
During the time the Jacksons was rising in music there was another young Black man who wanted to change the entertainment landscape for African Americans. Although, Berry Gordy was indeed making waves for artists on American television there was a lack of black owned programs to present these artists.
This is where Soul Train came to fill the void that American Bandstand could not. Don Cornelius gambled his life savings for another American Dream by giving a platform for artists such as Michael Jackson and later his sister Janet Jackson. BET is currently honoring this pop culture entity of American lore with a tv series entitled American Soul. Don Cornelius also has received numerous documentaries about creating one of the longest running syndicated shows in the history of American television.
What is amazing about these men during this time period was their forethought of envisioning their dreams outlasting generations. What is also interesting was how they inspired the youth of the era to be larger than life. Janet Jackson was groomed as a little girl to become an entertainment threat in acting and singing at an early age.
In what would exemplify The Jacksons as being rooted in the struggle of their people would be a groundbreaking television show entitled “Good Times”. It was based out of Chicago and about a family who was struggling like every other regular community across America. Little Janet Jackson won the role of “Penny” by channeling a ghetto child that was abused by her mother. She amazed viewers when she performed this scene.
For those who weren’t around in these days and to a newer hip hop generation, it may be lost just how groundbreaking The Jacksons and Soul Train were to the advancement of Black people in entertainment. Gone were the days of the stereotypical Amos and Andy. Now we were in an era where the black experience was being portrayed more accurately on television. The drawing power of these entities must also be given credit as they were monstrous draws which gave television executives reason to keep pushing more African Americans. The generation gap was now bridged from Sammy Davis Jr who was the blueprint for African American kid entertainers and now passed onto Michael and Janet Jackson.
This is why it was such a beautiful moment at the 6th Annual Soul Train Awards when Janet Jackson was presented with the Sammy Davis Jr Award. Just as her brother Michael and little Sammy before she was a child prodigy that lived up to her potential.
It should be noted that Soul Train was one of the first platforms that gave Michael and Janet their opportunity to shine as solo artists. During the time period she acted on the classic show “Diff’rent Strokes” she appeared on Soul Train in 1982.
Ironically a decade earlier her brother was showcased in a solo by Don Cornelius. Who could forget the time when teenage Michael in his full afro performed the classic “With A Child’s Heart” in 1972?
Although we no longer have Michael Jackson and Don Cornelius with us on earth, we still have their inspiring spirit that transcended our lifetime and made them legends for all times. It call came back full circle when Michael Jackson gave a rare television performance in the 1990’s on none other than the Soul Train 25th Anniversary in 1995 that celebrated the show’s history and impact.
The 1960’s civil rights era and the aspirations of the African American people of the era went hand in hand in transforming the country into the powerhouse it is today in terms of pop culture. The vibrant and talented youth in the Jackson clan and the tactical maneuvers of business men such as Joe Jackson and Don Cornelius helped to elevate their people like no other time in history. The adults and future adults of the 60’s and 70’s would inspire future generations to know that the sky is the limit and I believe this is the best way to leave the month of February and Black History Month. I leave with you with Joe Jackson on Soul Train being interviewed by Don Cornelius.
This has been VENOM with another article for Worldwide Entertainment TV. Stay Tuned for more.