Cheyney University Library Hosts a Lecture & Book Signing with Author of “Love, Peace and Soul,” Ericka Blount Danois

Angelitta Anderson

March 27, 2014

Cheyney University’s Leslie Pinckney Hill Library hosted writer, professor, editor, award-winning journalist and author of “Love, Peace and Soul,” Ericka Blount Danois on March 26. Those who turned out sat rivetted in their seats, listening to her talk about all of the famous people who made guest appearances on America’s favorite African American dance TV show, Soul Train, which lasted from 1971 to 2006. Danois even signed copies of her first book which is a behind-the-scenes look at Soul Train.

“The show was created with a major partnership between two successful black entrepreneurs, Don Cornelius (the host) and George E. Johnson, owner of Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen Johnson & Johnson Products,” explained Danois. “A business partnership between two black owners, back then, was a pretty big deal.”  She went on to say that the late Dick Clark actually wanted to buy the show from Cornelius but he wouldn't budge.  

Soul Train broke cultural ground in the United States by bringing black music, black artists, and black cosmetics to mainstream television. The title of Danois' book was Cornelius’ signature signoff at the end of each broadcast. 

Cheyney students liked the slide show which Danois showed, complete with clips from the show, pictures of many big-name stars, and commercials that ran during the show that showed hairstyles, fashions, and dance moves of the times.

Danois, whose written stories for The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and many other publications, explained why she wrote the book. “I started out wondering what happened to my favorite TV show,” she said. “I was just going to write an article, but my research morphed into a three-year project with over 100 first-hand accounts; including the shows regular dancers.”

Danois interviewed many of the dancers and told students where some of them are now and what they've done since leaving the show.  She also reminisced about meeting Cornelius back in Chicago.

“I love dance and music,” declared CU Library Technician and Coordinator of this event, Donna Bozic. “I think the book’s topic made an uplifting start for the spring semester.  Her talk was very interesting and, after she was finished, I felt like dancing!"