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Don Cornelius Dead: Al Sharpton Pays Tribute, Shows Footage Of 'Soul Train' Appearance

First Posted: 02/ 2/2012 10:47 am Updated: 02/ 2/2012 11:17 am

Al Sharpton paid tribute to the late Don Cornelius during his MSNBC show on Wednesday. Cornelius, who was found dead earlier that day, created the groundbreaking music and dance show, "Soul Train."

Sharpton called Cornelius a legend, and "one of the coolest, hippest hosts on TV." He attributed Cornelius and the show to launching the careers of some of the biggest African American performers, including Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, Gladys Knight & the Pips and more.

Sharpton also played video footage of his 1974 "Soul Train" appearance when he was just 19 years old. Sharpton went on the program to honor who he called his "surrogate father and mentor," James Brown. On the show, he presented Brown with a "black record" for his gold record, "Pay Back." As the young activist presented Brown with the framed black record, he told Brown that the record was "relevant and say many of the things young Blacks have tried to say."

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The life and career of Don Cornelius:
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  • Don Cornelius: Soul Train

    UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1973: c. 1973, California, Los Angeles, Soul Train, Don Cornelius. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: Soul Train

    Singer Aretha Franklin with show host and producer Don Cornelius. Franklin was one of many entertainers who performed on 'Soul Train' in the 1970''s, part of the Soul Train 30th Anniversary 'Divas and Kings 2000 & Beyond.' (Photo by 2001 Tribune Entertainment)

  • Don Cornelius: Soul Train

    Singer Diana Ross with show host and producer Don Cornelius. Ross was one of many entertainers who performed on 'Soul Train' in the 1970''s, part of the Soul Train 30th Anniversary 'Divas and Kings 2000 & Beyond.' (Photo by 2001 Tribune Entertainment)

  • Don Cornelius: Interviewing MLK

    Photo of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., center, is being interviewd by Soul Train show host and producer Don Cornelius, right. (Photo by 2001 Tribune Entertainment)

  • Don Cornelius: 20th Anniversary Soul Train Music Awards Nominations

    BEVERLY HILLS - FEBRUARY 2: Producer Don Cornelius attends the 20th Anniversary Soul Train Music Awards Nominations at the Spago Restaurant on February 2, 2006 in Beverly Hills, California. The 20th Annual Soul Train Music Awards TV Special will be video taped on March 4, 2006 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images).

  • Don Cornelius: 10th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards

    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: Soul Train Producer Don Cornelius onstage at the 10th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on September 7, 2005 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: 20th Annual Soul Train Music Awards

    PASADENA, CA - MARCH 04: Producer Don Cornelius and wife Victoria arrive at the 20th Annual Soul Train Music Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on March 4, 2006 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: Anti-Defamation League Entertainment Industry Awards

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 5: 'Soul Train' creator/producer Don Cornelius and his wife Victoria arrive at the Anti-Defamation League Entertainment Industry Awards at the Bevery Hills Hotel on April 5, 2006 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: 2009 BET Awards

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 28: TV personality Don Cornelius presents the BET Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the 2009 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: 10th Annual Soul Train Lady Of Soul Awards Nomination

    BEVERLY HILLS - AUGUST 9: Producer Don Cornelius attends the 10th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards Nominations at the Spago Restuarant on August 9, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images).

  • Don Cornelius: 2005 TV Land Awards

    SANTA MONICA, CA - MARCH 13: Executive Producer Don Cornelius (L) and Musician Smokey Robinson onstage at the 2005 TV Land Awards at Barker Hangar on March 13, 2005 in Santa Monica, California. Don Cornelius was awarded the Pop Culture Award for 'Soul Train'. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: 2005 TV Land Awards

    SANTA MONICA, CA - MARCH 13: Producer Don Cornelius arrives at the 2005 TV Land Awards at Barker Hangar on March 13, 2005 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: 2005 TV Land Awards

    SANTA MONICA, CA - MARCH 13: Musicians (L-R) Ashanti, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Mya, Little Richard, and TV personality Don Cornelius attend the 2005 TV Land Awards at Barker Hangar on March 13, 2005 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: 19th Annual Soul Train Music Awards Nominations

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 1: Producer Don Cornelius speaks at the 19th Annual 2005 Soul Train Music Awards nomination announcements during press conference at Spago Restaurant on February 1, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: 19th Annual Soul Train Music Awards Nominations

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 1: (L-R) Actor/recording artist Nick Cannon and producer Don Cornelius attend the 19th Annual 2005 Soul Train Music Awards nomination announcements during a press conference at Spago Restaurant on February 1, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: 6th Annual Family Television Awards

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 1: Producer Don Cornelius attends the Sixth Annual Family Television Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 1, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: 18th Annual Soul Train Music Awards

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Producer Don Cornelius attends the 18th Annual Soul Train Music Awards 2004 nominations at Spago's Restaurant on February 19, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California. The 18th Annual Soul Train Music Awards will be broadcast live on March 20, 2004 from the International Cultural Center, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: 9th Annual Soul Train Awards Nominations

    BEVERLY HILLS - JULY 17: Producer Don Cornelius attends the 9th Annual Soul Train Nominations announcements at the Spago Restaurant on July 17, 2003 in Beverly Hills, California. The Soul Train Awards are at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on August 23, 2003. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • Don Cornelius: Gala Benefit

    WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Producer Don Cornelius and his wife attend the Gala Benefit for Debbie Allen's musical Pearl at the Geffen Playhouse on November 19, 2002 in Westwood, California. The proceeds benefit the children of Debbie Allen's Dance Academy. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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Filed by Rebecca Shapiro  |