going above and beyond
- Feb 19, 2001
March 2, 2019 ·
SOUL TRAIN vs. AMERICAN BANDSTAND
In 1973, Dick Clark, who dominated TV for teens with American Bandstand, felt threaten as Soul Train’s popularity grew. American Bandstand began to lose its black audience, so he tried to have Don Cornelius’ Soul Train taken off the air and replaced with his own knockoff, Soul Unlimited.
Clark’s power move outraged black political leaders who along with the black community believed that having a black-owned show on television was not only cool, but an extension of the civil rights movement.
Led by Chicago’s Reverend Jesse Jackson, they contacted Clark and ABC executives to protest. The idea that Clark, with whom blacks had always had an uneasy relationship, could kill Soul Train led to threats of an ABC boycott.
Black leaders were joined by one of the most powerful men in the history of the black music business—and also a consultant to ABC, Clarence Avant, who went ballistic when he learned about Clark’s power move.
After too much pressure, ABC finally caved and cancelled Soul Unlimited.
#blackhistory #history #soultrain #americanbandstand