Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My proposition on Soul Music



Well some days ago, I had a interesting conversation with someone on want SOUL MUSIC is? Well, I have no idea. Then someone made a weird suggestion. There is a thing called Jamaican Soul Music. I was like, this person must be in a stupid land. Then I checked if there is such thing. Well actually there is such thing as JAMAICAN SOUL MUSIC. The question that has been wondering in my head is the following: WHAT IS SOUL MUSIC?

I make my proprosition on what soul music actually is. Well Soul Music is music where it was generated by Black people to make music where the Black person sang in a certain way. I mean this music was meant to be where you were known for singing and that SOUL voice you would have.

This music has so many styles of this music. I mean there are many. We have Motown Soul (Detroit), Nu-Jazz and soulful electronia, Deep Soul (Southern), Memphis Soul, New Orleans Soul, Blue-eyed Soul, Neo Soul, British Soul, Northern Soul (Modern), Chicago Soul, and Philadelphia Soul. These styles of Soul Music have been able to adance this music. Some notable soul artists we have include Fantashia, Al Green, and many others. This is why Soul Music is so important to my eyes.

This is why Soul Music is a great genre. I recommend that more people hear some soul music because it so good and it has a strong beauty and it brings some uniquesses that other music don't have. Even better now it is no longer a Black thing. Now other races dig this music especially Whites which is a good thing. Look at Adele as example. Adele loves soul music and she does soul music very well. I find that a progress. Soul Music is a great music kind that others need to hear.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What is it about me?

I have found another interesting question to myself which is something important? I ask this: WHAT IS IT ABOUT ME?

Well I have found out that people have huge misconceptions about me.

One of them is that I am a musician and that I have my own band. What type of thinking is that. Yep you hear people saying that I am a musician. Also people that I am actually FRANCO PEPE KALLE. What is this. Many others think I am a music promoter.

Let me set things straight. First of all, Franco Pepe Kalle is a personality name of mine, not a real one. Also I am not a musician nor a promoter. I am a youtuber and blogger who just wants to show the uniqueness of Franco and Pepe Kalle. I am also a student. If you want my real name, well you going to have to email me through two emails which are either grandmaitregiantafrique@gmail.com or FrancoPepeKalle@aol.com. There if you want my real name then I will tell you my real name. However one thing is true: I am a Congolese American.

That concludes my rant for NOW at least.


Why I am happy being different?

Hello to my dear friends from all over the world (USA, Congo (DRC and Brazzaville), Colombia, Peru, Kenya, Tanzania, United Kingdom, France, Austraila) and etc. I am here to talk more on life in general today too.

Well where I live, I get tons of questions. The thing I want people to know about me is that I am not a popular man. I am not a popular person. I have a very complicated life. My family has endured so much abuse. My family has endured a lot of hate from some people. My parents are my great friends and I will thank them for my success. I am a student after all, I have made some dumb decisions which is why I appericiate my parents even more. I am a grateful man and I enjoy my parents at a lot. I am often asked why I am not popular like my brother or why am I not popular? It is a tough question to be honest and It has taken time to answer but I do have something to say.

Let me get started on this and I am about to make a statement that may get me in big trouble but I am going to say it anyway. I am so happy that I am different. I have a enjoyment of being different. I am a person who is way different from let's just say very stupid misguided classmates.

I make this statement because I am beginning to see the goodness of being different from everyone else. I see this because I have made some statements and most of my colleagues are angry and hate on me for being "DIFFERENT".

One of them is being a proud virgin. I have some sexual fantasies that pop up from time to time but I have managed to control in may ways I did not think I could but I did. What happened was that I was being diced for not fucking a woman on Valetine's day. I decided to make a bold statement saying that I could care less if someone had sex because it is not my business to know in the first place. I said that I would make with someone with some honey and rose because I like those two together. It makes a perfect way for sex but I will do that once I AM ACTUALLY MARRIED. I got a lot of flack and surprinsingly some good back up. One person even pointed out that he did sex too and he lost himself and that Jesus said that sex was meant to be for marriage. Amen to that man for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Because of that incident, I felt somewhat guilty for saying that and many people gave me so much hate and anger towards me that I was beginning to feel like a total failure and I began feeling like I was being a nobody.

But as always it makes me better. Now I feel like a happy determined man. Also, I have realized one thing: Being very from everyone is really a blessing. This means I can discover my own self and not having to waste energy on other people.

For example, most of my colleagues are just clowns. They have millions and millions of friends and links around them. Also what they talk about is so usual and annoying too. As one of my misguided collaegues says "SEX AND ROCK & ROLL". Such a clushsay huh. Whatever, it means nothing to me.

While I don't have either of those stuff but I do have something: A youtube account, a family (a good one), and of course my blog. Here I am different from most of my stupid colleagues. Here generally I talk music of my kind which is usually Urban and African. Urban like R&B, Soul, and Hip Hop. African like Congolese Music generally. So I dig those music more than let's say ROCK and ROLL.


I happen to be a big fan of Two Congolese Greatest Stars ever name Franco and Pepe Kalle. These two are the King of Congolese Music. Franco is the Rumba King and Pepe Kalle is the Soukous King. These two men make me so happy when I hear their music so much. I appericate their music a lot. Because of that is why I name myself Franco Pepe Kalle.



Also I am a open minded person though at times I can be stubborn. For example, I used to not care for some Colombian stuff. But because I kept an open mind to that life, something occured. When I found out that Joe Arroyo passed away, I intially did not care until I heard his songs. There for some reason I felt some connection to him and I began wanting to hear more Joe Arroyo. Thanks to my love for Joe Arroyo and some Colombians now I have some connection. I have some Colombian friends. See what can happen, keep open mind and good things occur.

My point is that I am so happy that I am different from everyone and I have a great family. I am grateful for what I actually have. While most of my classmates are whining and complain about not having enough, I am grateful for a few things I got. I will never be part of a group but I will continue to do what I can to live and do I what do which is be a student and be a blogger. Have a nice day.

Youlou Soukous Thunder



Man this weekend was incredibly great. I had a good time discussing music and just having fun with my family.

One thing I have been having the most fun with is listening to the soukous music of one man I used to be a fanatic of. I am speaking former OK Jazz vocalist and former Kamikaze Loningisa leader Youlou Mabiala. Yep he made some great soukous songs during the 1990s. When I am listening to two Youlou soukous songs, I feel like in a great mood. Sebenes are so perfect with great animations, great guitars, and perfect percussion. This is how good music should be made of.

I want to show you these songs so you can understand why I enjoy these songs so much. They are Pardon Maya and Potpourri 2.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Interview with a ex-Soul Dancer


Here is a interview with a former Soul Train personnel name Ervin Bernard Thompson. Here he talks to Soul Train about his life.

There have been many great dancers on Soul Train. But one of the best–if not the best–dance couples in the history of Soul Train was Erwin Bernard Thompson and Diane Thompson, who happened to be the only married couple who ever danced on the program. Their routines and moves were always perfectly coordinated and timed and they were always a treat to watch down the Soul Train line. They were even featured in an exclusive interview in Right On magazine. Here is the story behind the couple known as Soul Train’s dancing duo and who should be inducted into the Soul Train Dancer Hall of Fame as told by Erwin Bernard Thompson.

Soultrain.com: Erwin, thank you for your time in giving us this interview. My first question is where are you originally from?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Right here in Los Angeles.
Soultrain.com: Did you love to dance when you were a child?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: As a child, I loved dancing, ever since I was too young to know what dancing was. (Laughs) Everyone knew I could dance. I was at every dance hop when I was a teenager. Prior to that, from first to sixth grade, May Day dances would be held and kids from all the schools in the area would attend them.
Soultrain.com: How did you get on Soul Train?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: I was at a club called the Citadel which, along with the Climax and Maverick’s Flat, was one of the biggest clubs in Los Angeles. Pam Brown (then dance coordinator of Soul Train) was there that night and she saw me dancing and invited me to come to a taping. This was around the time when the national version of Soul Train was just getting off the ground.
Soultrain.com: Before you went on, had you seen the show?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: I think I saw one or two episodes of the show before Pat invited me to the show.

Soultrain.com: What are your memories of being at that first taping?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: The first time I went to Soul Train was with Pat Davis. I met her at the Citadel and she needed a partner for the show that weekend, so she invited me and it was such a fun day.
Soultrain.com: What were your impressions of Don Cornelius seeing him in person for the first time?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: I was very impressed. I was so happy for him and for the show promoting good, clean fun for black teens and helping to give them exposure. I was elated that this was an all Black thing. It was an exciting time for Black people, a time of brotherhood and we all had common interests. Those were times I will never forget.
Soultrain.com: Did you get recognized after being on Soul Train that first time?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Yes. After the airing of my first time on the show, I went to the store for my mom and I went down Broadway and people recognized me and applauded!
Soultrain.com: Sometimes Don doesn’t always get the credit he deserves for giving young people the opportunity for being exposed on nationwide television, nor does he get credit for helping them.
Erwin Bernard Thompson: That is true. I remember one time he made it possible for me and other dancers from the show to go to a grammar school to meet and greet fans of ours. The kids treated us like superstars and we signed autographs. Some of us also worked for him in the sense that he made it possible for us to go to places like Long Beach and Inglewood to pass out fliers about Soul Train and to talk to people and spread the word about this new dance show. We weren’t on his payroll, but we helped him out and we all had a stake in letting many people know about Soul Train and he appreciated that.
Soultrain.com: This was when you got to know fellow Soul Train dancer Tyrone Proctor, right?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Yes. One of the times after we had finished distributing fliers, he didn’t have a way to get back to Hollywood. So I gave him a ride since I didn’t live that far from there. When I saw him a few years ago at a Soul Train Gang reunion, he told me he would never forget what I did for him that day.
Soultrain.com: Were you involved in the entertainment industry before you went to Soul Train?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Yes. Prior to Soul Train, Eddie Cole, and a girl named Valencia (two other dancers from Soul Train), and I had formed a dance group called The Natural Three. We got an agent and were booked to dance at colleges and schools.
Soultrain.com: Why didn’t the Natural Three continue?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: The group just phased out and we just jumped on the Soul Train bandwagon.
Soultrain.com: After that first weekend appearing on Soul Train, did you become a regular?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: No, not yet. I still had to audition so my name would be on a list for the regular dancers. Me, Eddie Cole, Wanda Fuller and Diane Thompson went to a park in Los Angeles where they would hold auditions. Five Soul Train lines were done and this is how Pam Brown would choose the dancers she wanted on the show. We all got picked to become regulars.
Soultrain.com: Did you and your future dance partner and wife Diane meet at this audition?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: We actually fist met at the Citadel. We just clicked. We both loved to dance and we just started conversing, then we began dating and we got married in June 1973.
Soultrain.com: Did Don Cornelius know you and Diane were a married couple?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Yes, he did. In fact, when we did the Scramble Board, he acknowledged that we were married. He even joked that the reason we didn’t have any kids yet was because we danced too much! (Laughs)
Soultrain.com: I have to say that you and Diane are, in my opinion, the tightest dance couple in Soul Train’s history. Your moves were always together and you were always in sync and you both epitomized what the joy of dance was all about. In fact, Essence magazine used to run an ad for Soul Train every month in the seventies featuring a drawing of a couple dancing, and I really believe that couple was modeled after you and Diane.
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Wow! Thanks! (Laughs)
Soultrain.com: I’m sure it took a lot of rehearsals for you two to get your moves down pat.
Erwin Bernard Thompson: When I would get home from work, Diane and I rehearsed every day. She had rhythm but I had to teach her and help her with the steps, but she eventually picked up on the beat. Her main drive was school and her energies were focused on that.
Soultrain.com: Did you and Diane ever dance on American Bandstand?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Yes. We went on Bandstand and had a lot of fun.
Soultrain.com: Did you two ever appear on Soul Unlimited, which was produced by Dick Clark?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Yes. Don Cornelius was mad about that program. He had his show–which was only a few years old–and this new show was taking most of his dancers.
Soultrain.com: Did Don ban any of the dancers who danced on Soul Unlimited from dancing on Soul Train again?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Well, he didn’t actually come out and say that you would be banned from Soul Train, but we picked up on his demeanor about the whole situation. But I enjoyed going to Soul Unlimited as well as Soul Train. Dick Clark also did a lot in giving young people television exposure also.
Soultrain.com: Do you have any OMG moments from Soul Train?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Yes! Several. I remember when Michael Jackson was on the show and during a break in taping he was standing on the stage dangling his microphone–which had a very long cord. Without him knowing, the microphone hit me on the head by accident! (Laughs) Another moment was when Gladys Knight and the Pips were on the show. I was standing close by the stage and during a break in taping Gladys came to the side of the stage and reached out to me and said, “Hi. How are you?” We had an instant connection and she was just the nicest person. When Diana Ross came to the show to do an interview with Don, she signed her autograph for me during a break. She signed it “Bernardo.” (Laughs). I still have the autograph. She was so nice. Smokey Robinson was another great and wonderful person. He and I took a picture together.
Soultrain.com: When the Godfather of Soul, James Brown came on Soul Train with the JBs, that had to be one of the most memorable experiences of seeing an artist on the show.
Erwin Bernard Thompson: It was definitely an experience to see how his production was made and put together! We got to see all the breaks in between and how they rehearsed. James Brown really had it together.
Soultrain.com: I can imagine that when artists like the JBs came on to perform live, the dancers and production staff had to obviously wait around on set while the instruments and sound checks were set up.
Erwin Bernard Thompson: With James Brown, we never had to wait on set and watch him and his band set up. When the dancers had lunch, his band set up all their instruments so by the time we got back on the set, they were ready to perform.
Soultrain.com: It must have been a memorable experience to see new artists come on Soul Train, such as when the late, great Minnie Riperton first came to the show.
Erwin Bernard Thompson: She sang with class. It was like listening to a bird. She had no strain whatsoever in her voice. Artistry was definitely at its highest during that time.
Soultrain.com: You and Diane eventually divorced. Could you explain what led to you two no longer being together?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: I was putting in a 40-hour work week along with spending time with Diane and rehearsing our routines. I was winding down. I needed a change. I wanted to go in a different direction as well as she. Something had to give. I stopped dancing on Soul Train but she was still going to the show since she had gotten “the camera bug.” I had to break away and get out of the dance scene for a while and find some me time. So Diane and I grew apart and went our separate ways.
Soultrain.com: What did you do after that situation?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: I got a new job and started making a decent living and taking classes. I still danced at clubs, but I needed to concentrate on me.
Soultrain.com: You have since remarried, right?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Yes. In 1992, I got remarried. Between the both of us, we have three adult children, seven grandchildren and one great grandson.
Soultrain.com: Have your kids and grandkids seen any footage of you dancing on Soul Train?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Yes. They get a trip out of seeing that footage. They always compliment their grandpa! (Laughs)
Soultrain.com: Considering your background in dance, do you ever see yourself teaching dance or being involved in the entertainment industry again?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: In 2006, I was looking to work in some capacity with Soul Train when I found out it was cancelled! But I would love to teach dance. Since I am a former Soul Train dancer, I wouldn’t mind going on “Dancing With The Stars.”
Soultrain.com: Do you have a special message you want to share with the readers?
Erwin Bernard Thompson: I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Mr. Don Cornelius for opening doors and providing a sense of a dream come true, for many. However, words can’t really express one of the most important highlighting moments of my life as a young adult. I have a lot to be thankful for. To this day, dancing is still like second nature to me in some regards. But, being a part of history is certainly something to be proud of and I really appreciate that. I would encourage everybody, no matter how young or old, to still follow your dreams; walk the straight and narrow pathway until mission is accomplished; bypassing all distractions. To the Dancers on the show whom I’ve come to know, love, and respect all of these years, I’d like to also thank you for being a special part of my life!
Soultrain.com: By the way, you had the most together Afro back in the day! You must have used a lot of Afro Sheen to hold it up. Right on brother! (Laughs)
Erwin Bernard Thompson: Thanks! (Laughs) I look at old pictures of myself now and I ask myself, what was I thinking? (Laughs)

Soul Train Importance: Whitney Houston

I have the pleasure to show you importance from Soul Train who covers one artist who died too soon. That person is Whitney Houston. She is someone who just brought some great impact to music in general.

Here is the story.



In February 1985, a relatively unknown singer named Whitney Houston made her first and only appearance on Soul Train. Although this was not her first television appearance, it was her first to promote her debut album self-titled “Whitney Houston.”

To complement the stunning blue dress Houston wore, the backdrop and neon Soul Train sign were both lit to fit the mood of the song she was about to perform, the first single release from the album, the soulful ballad ‘You Give Good Love.” Her stage presence and showmanship was that of a seasoned pro in show business. The Soul Train dancers gave her a thunderous ovation when she finished performing. “You Give Good Love” was an instant hit, climbing up to number one on the R&B charts in May 1985 and number two on the pop charts that summer.

Later in the show, Houston performed a track from the album entitled “How Will I Know.” This percolating dance number would not be released as a single until December 1985 but it was a good marketing strategy to show television viewers that Houston was not only capable of doing ballads but dance songs as well. Draped in a sleeveless glittery white jump suit, Houston’s energetic performance won the approval of the Soul Train Dancers who gave her another rousing ovation.
By the time “How Will I Know” was released, reaching number one on both the pop and R&B charts in the winter of 1986, Houston was a bonafide superstar.
Houston did not make any other appearances on Soul Train but she did appear and perform on other Soul Train-related specials.

Houston performed “You Give Good Love” on the inaugural Soul Train Music Awards in March 1987, later performing “That’s What Friends Are For” with Stevie Wonder and hosts Luther Vandross and her cousin, Dionne Warwick.

Houston joined gospel artists BeBe and CeCe Winans on the song “Hold Up the Light” on the third annual Soul Train Music Awards ceremony in April 1989, indicative of Houston’s early roots singing in the church.

At the 7th annual Soul Train Music Awards ceremony in 1993, Houston performed a rousing medley of “Queen of the Night” and “I’m Every Woman,” tunes taken from the soundtrack of her film The Bodyguard.

At the following year’s ceremony, Houston joined husband Bobby Brown on “Something in Common,” a duet track that appeared on Brown’s Bobby album. For this rare performance, Houston looked regal in a matching turban and long evening gown in a blueish-purplish combination.
At the same ceremony, Houston was the female recipient of the prestigious Sammy Davis, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award. Escorted on stage by Brown, she humbly accepted the award from author Terri McMillan. When receiving her award, Houston said, “Sammy not only achieved the humiliation of discrimination, he endured the insults aimed at him by his own people who blamed him for trying to rise above the ignorance and hatred not through rhetoric but through his work. May who have never experienced racism and discrimination that were part of Mr. Davis’ life think of him as yesterday’s news. But Sammy Davis, Jr. was a giant.” Her speech received a thunderous ovation. In the audience were her mother Cissy Houston and her baby daughter Bobbi Kristina.

In November 1995, Soul Train’s host and creator Don Cornelius produced a television special in honor of the program’s 25 years on television titled Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame. The program inducted a number of artists into its hall of fame, all of whom had appeared on the show. Honorees included Patti Labelle, Bill Withers, Diana Ross, Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. (Strangely missing from the list of honorees were James Brown and Aretha Franklin). Houston graciously thanked Cornelius when receiving her award.

In 1998, Houston received the Quincy Jones Career Achievement Award at the Soul Train Music Awards.

At the 1999 Soul Train Music Awards, Houston joined El Debarge, Kenny Lattimore, and Johnny Gill in singing “So Amazing” to Luther Vandross, who was receiving a special honor. At the following year’s ceremony, Houston received the Artist of the Decade award. During her acceptance speech, she sang a heartwarming “happy birthday” to Bobbi Kristina, who was in the audience. That year’s ceremony happened to fall on Bobbi’s birthday. The speech was also memorable by many when she concluded by proclaiming her husband, Bobby Brown, as the “original king of R&B.”

During the same ceremony, Houston presented the Sammy Davis Jr. Award for Female Entertainer of the Year to Mary J. Blige. This would be Houston’s last time appearing on the Soul Train Music Awards and any other Soul Train related program.

Just ten days before Houston passed away, Don Cornelius died in an apparent suicide according to the coroner’s official report. The day Cornelius died, Houston joined many other celebrities in making statements in tribute to him. Her statement was: “I grew up watching ‘Soul Train’ and I was privileged to perform on the show at the beginning of my career and on several more occasions. Don opened the door for many artists. He was a great pioneer.”

Sadly, Houston died a short week later.

When seeing Cornelius interview Houston on her first and only appearance on Soul Train, it is inconceivable that these two icons are gone, both as a result of tragic endings. But nevertheless, Cornelius and Houston’s marks in the entertainment industry are forever cemented. Both of them gave all of their love, peace and soul.

http://soultrain.com/2012/02/24/soul-train-history-book-whitney-houston/

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Franco vs. Pepe Kalle: Who is better?






If there is one interesting discussion I had during this weeekedn was whether which of my two favorite personnels are better. I am speaking of Grand Maitre Franco and Giantafrique Pepe Kalle. Why you suppose? I made a joke that I was not in a mood to talk about Franco and Pepe Kalle but my family members decided to talk these two men anyway. So I did.


I am often asked who I think is better. Well it is very subjective but clearly one has an advantage over the other. One of them is who is a better musician? Franco. Who is the better singer? Pepe Kalle. Who was the better band leader? Franco. Who has the bigger star? Pepe Kalle.

But then comes ties who has a better connection with their culture or who people relate to better? It is a big tie because they both understood how hard life can be. Also both have shown their love for their culture by signing in their native tongue (Franco on Kikongo and Pepe Kalle on Tshiluba).


Because of this, I say neither is better than the other but it is fair to compare these two great legends because they are the true Kings of Congolese Music. They advance Congo music farther than anyone else. So these two Kings will be missed for a long time. Franco and Pepe Kalle are the Kings of Congolese Music.




Derek Fleming

Here is a interview of a Soul Train dancer name Derek Fleming aka "FOXTAILS". He was a dancer that came from the 1980s up to the early 1990s. He had a large personality. He interviewed with soultrain.com

Here it is

December 23, 2011


Soul Train: Thank you Derek so much for giving us this interview. First off, where are you originally from?
Derek Fleming: I was born in Port Arthur, Texas, but moved to California when I was three.
Soul Train: Do you think entertainment and show business was in your blood?
Derek Fleming: Well, my dad was in a group called Otis Williams and the Charms. So maybe to a degree that had something to do with me wanting to go into entertainment. But what I really think helped to inspire me was a James Brown concert I attended as a little kid.
Soul Train: Tell me about that experience.
Derek Fleming: My great-grandmother lived in South Central Los Angeles across from Wrigley Field and she took me to see James Brown perform in concert at that arena. That was a whole different experience to see the Godfather of Soul in concert and I was so excited to see him. You see, I grew up in a predominantly white area in Orange County, California. When I would be around other black kids, they would say I talked and danced like a little white boy. Luckily, I had teenage uncles and aunts who watched programs like American Bandstand and Hullaballoo and they would show me how to do the popular dances from those programs. I also picked up the dance steps I saw from watching those TV programs. As time went on, I had no idea how good a dancer I was since I picked up dance steps quickly.
Soul Train: So you received a lot of your foundation in dancing as a little boy and it continued into adolescence, right?
Derek Fleming: Yes. I was also interested in other areas of the arts such as reading. My mom was a teacher and she would take me to libraries, museums and art galleries. So that instilled in me a love of the arts as well as music and helped me to be a creative person. She also knew a lot of people who either were famous or would later become famous. For example, Debbie Allen (who also grew up in Texas) used to babysit my brother and me. But at that time, we didn’t know what “famous” was. These were simply people our mother knew. Years later, when Debbie Allen performed on Soul Train, I asked her if she remembered me and she hugged me real tight and kissed me and said, “Of course I remember you!”
Soul Train: You went through a very dark time during your childhood. Would you mind sharing that?
Derek Fleming: My mother was sick with cancer. She died in 1970 when I was 12, and I went into a depression and I had no interest in anything. While in seventh grade I was shell shocked. My grandparents raised me after my mother passed. During that time, I put a lot of time into dancing. I would dance around my grandparents’ house while doing errands like dumping out the trash. I also would study and watch Gene Kelly in his movies that were shown on television.
Soul Train: So even though you were depressed during that time, dancing was kind of a release for you.
Derek Fleming: Absolutely! Dancing was a catharsis for me. It helped me get over my grief and to prove a point to my cousins and other kids who said I danced like a white boy. By eighth grade, I was coming out of my depression and made some friends. One time a friend of mine and I were listening to a radio show called The Soul Express, and when the songs would play I would begin dancing and she began telling everyone that I could dance.
Soul Train: It was when you were 13 that a new TV show called Soul Train changed your life forever, right?
Derek Fleming: Most definitely! I had an aunt that happened to be white and one Saturday she saw this new show called Soul Train and told me about it. Another friend at school also told me about it. So the next Saturday I watched it and I was like “wow!” My favorite dancers were Damita Jo Freeman, Pat Davis, Scoo B Doo and the Lockers. I used to wait for these dancers to do certain movements like Pat rolling her neck around and seeing what Damita and the Lockers were gonna do. Then I started seeing them in Right On magazine.
Soul Train: You also had the privilege of meeting some of Soul Train’s popular regulars of that time, correct?
Derek Fleming: Yes, when I was 14 at Disneyland’s Tomorrow Land stage. Oh my God! When I met the Soul Train Gang, my heart sank in my shoes. Meeting Pat Davis was like meeting Diana Ross! I also met Jimmy Scoo B Doo Foster, James Philips, Lisa Jones, Tyrone Proctor and Sharon Hill. I was really a huge fan of Pat Davis and Scoo B Doo. They ruled the Soul Train stage. They were unbelievable! I also loved watching Damita Jo Freeman and Shabba Doo.
Soul Train: So meeting the Soul Train Gang only further inspired you to continue to dance.
Derek Fleming: Yes! From age 13 to when I was in high school, I entered dance contests. One time, my grandmother, who was real strict, allowed me to be in a dance contest at a club called Avery Smith & Jones. She permitted a teacher named Mr. Cole to take me to this club to enter the contest and I won $200.00. I was only 13!
Soul Train: How did you become a Soul Train dancer?
Derek Fleming: There’s a funny back story to that. When I was in high school I grew a big afro and people thought I was Jeffrey Daniels, who was a popular Soul Train regular and with the group Shalamar. People would always ask me if I danced on Soul Train. But because of my dancing ability, people would tell me all the time that I would eventually be on Soul Train. So when I was a little older, I went to a lot of clubs in California. One night in late 1979, I went to this club called the Ichabad, which was where a lot of the Soul Train dancers would go. On this particular night, Jeffrey Daniels was judging a dance contest–which I won. I met him and we talked and he gave me a Shalamar album and wrote his name and phone number on it. So I called him and asked him how to become a dancer on Soul Train and he gave me the information. The first time I went to the studio where the show was taped, me and a friend who came with me did not get in. But the second time, we got in.
Soul Train: What do you remember about that first time being on Soul Train?
Derek Fleming: I remember sitting in the stands and the first person I met was Penny Ford, who was talking to Odis Medley (the Soul Train dancer who wore all the different masks and costumes). When the floor director Chuck Johnson announced, “dancers on the floor”, I simply went on the stage. I thought that the dancers just went anywhere they wanted to. But Chuck told me to come down off the stage. But when the music began playing, he saw what I could do and then he told me to get up on the stage.
Soul Train: What was it like dancing on the Soul Train stage?
Derek Fleming: When I first got on stage, it was very competitive. There was a lot of competition but being the kind of person I am, I helped others to get on the stage. I brought a lot of people from my hometown of Orange County to the show and we brought a whole new look to the show. We had that Prince style before Prince was even doing it. (Laughs) We went from wearing Spandex to suits to the new wave look to Members Only jackets.
Soul Train: You also helped a little kid go down the Soul Train line, right?
Derek Fleming: Yes. One of the dancers brought his little brother to the studio and he wanted to dance on the show. Every time he went on the floor to dance, the floor director told him to sit down. So when it was time to do the Soul Train line, I told him he could go down with me.
Soul Train: Do you have any OMG moments from being a dancer on Soul Train?
Derek Fleming: Yes, when I asked Diana Ross a question when she appeared on the show. It was such a great moment for me because she reminded me a lot of my mom. My mom would have been so proud of me. Another OMG moment was when the Brothers Johnson’s “Stomp” was played on the show and we all just jammed! Lunchtime was another great OMG moment. It was even hotter than being on TV! People would have their radios tuned into the same station and we all danced and got down. Another great OMG moment was one year when we were given the official Soul Train jackets before Christmas. Those were some of the many great OMG moments I had on Soul Train.
Soul Train: Did you ever do the Scramble Board?
Derek Fleming: I did the Scramble Board at least five times! Chuck picked me to do it the first time and Don Cornelius picked me to do it all the other times.
Soul Train: Did you have a favorite artist that you enjoyed seeing perform on Soul Train?
Derek Fleming: I enjoyed everybody, but Teena Marie really stands out. She was so much fun to be around and was a joy to have in the studio. We didn’t want her to go when she finished performing. Another great memory was when Jody Watley came on the show to do “I’m the One You Need” and she danced with me. It was a surreal moment. It was like a homecoming whenever a former dancer from the show came back.
Soul Train: Do you remember any funny moments on the show?
Derek Fleming: Yes! Someone came to the show and brought a bag of costumes and literally over 100 roaches came out of this bag and spilled out onto the Soul Train stage! (Laughs) Big roaches and little roaches! Don was cursing and he was livid! He said, “Get that (expletive) bag out of here!” (Laughs)
Soul Train: Did the tapings go as late as they did back in the seventies? Many dancers from that period told me the tapings would go to midnight or one in the morning,
Derek Fleming: While I was on the show, we would get out at 8 or 9PM, 10 at the latest. Usually after the tapings we would go to all the popular clubs in LA such as Paradise 24K, Danceteria, Moody’s, Dillon’s and the Palladium. 50 of us dancers that got into these clubs would be on the V.I.P. list–me, Cheryl Song, Reggie Thornton, and Sheila Lewis.
Soul Train: You were also a fashion icon. You wore some really terrific outfits.
Derek Fleming: Thank you! People made clothes for me to wear. I also did modeling for Oak Tree and Merry Go Round.
Soul Train: You wore a foxtail with most of your outfits and earned the nickname “Foxtails.” How did this come about?
Derek Fleming: My mom used to call me and my little brother foxes. A friend of mine would call me a little fox and she even gave me a foxtail so years later I started wearing it with my outfits and it caught on. Others such as Full Force and Grandmaster Flash began wearing foxtails. Shabba Doo even sported a foxtail in the movie “Breakin’”, but I was the first to do that on Soul Train.
Soul Train: You did cameos with many of the artists that came on Soul Train. Who were those artists?
Derek Fleming: I did cameos with Thelma Houston, Sybil, Sister Sledge, Evelyn Champagne King, Carrie Lucas, and Little Richard when they came to the show. I also danced on stage with Sheila E when she came to the show, but it was reshot since I was told to come off the stage. The same thing happened when Janet Jackson came to the show. Don Cornelius reprimanded me for going on the stage to dance with her and her segment was reshot.
Soul Train: Who was your best friend while you were on Soul Train?
Derek Fleming: Cheryl Song! She was and still is the best friend I had from Soul Train.
Soul Train: Being a Soul Train dancer opened up a lot of doors for you I’m sure.
Derek Fleming: Absolutely! Back around 1984 or 1985, the Brotherhood Crusade Organization hosted a tribute to Don Cornelius. Patti Labelle, Luther Vandross, and Dionne Warwick were among the artists that performed at this tribute. Members of the Jackson family were in the audience. When the Soul Train Gang danced during one part of the show, we just turned it out! We did the Soul Train line to Ollie & Jerry’s “There’s No Stopping Us” and the theme from Beverly Hills Cop, “Axel F.” Also, Cheryl Song, Nieci Payne, Rick Carson, and I and some other dancers traveled to Japan. We stayed there for two months and we had such a great time.
Soul Train: How did you feel when the dancers weren’t used for the Soul Train Awards?
Derek Fleming: That was a slap in the face. We sat there in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and could not believe we weren’t being utilized. We were told we had to be a part of the union in order to participate. We were treated like we didn’t exist. We didn’t even have good seats. We did, however, make the after parties jump!
Soul Train: You were almost the dance coordinator for Soul Train. Explain that experience.
Derek Fleming: This was when Soul Train was taped at A&M Studios. Darryl Mitchell was the floor coordinator at the time, but he was sick at the time and a replacement was needed.. All of the dancers were outside at the gate. Don Cornelius happened to come out and he asked, “Who knows all of the dancers?” Many hands went up including mine. Don looked around and saw one particular dancer named Eric. Don told him, “Ok, you come on in.” Eric went with Don inside the gate and the door shut. He basically started out as an assistant to Pam Brown (long-time dance/audience coordinator for Soul Train) before he moved up to the dance coordinator.
Soul Train: You also did some acting in movies, right?
Derek Fleming: Yes. I did a movie called Body Rock and played a character named Maurice Bruno but my scenes were edited down. I also appeared in House Party 2 and The Night Before.
Soul Train: Didn’t you also do some singing?
Derek Fleming: Yes. I was part of a singing group called Section 3. We cut some demos but we were never picked up by any label.
Soul Train: You also had a doll modeled after you.
Derek Fleming: Mattel had this doll named Derek. You see I wrote a letter to Mattel when the anniversary of its G.I. Joe doll was being commemorated. I also sent them photos of myself and just mentioned that I danced on Soul Train. Next thing you know some time later, a doll came out called Derek which wore clothes similar to mine and then a line of Soul Train dolls came out. Someone owes me a check! (Laughs)
Soul Train: What do you think of Soul Train in the latter years–say the mid 80s onward–in terms of the look and feel of the show?
Derek Fleming: When Chuck Johnson (dance coordinator) was there, he had a distinctive art of putting talent on the show, showcasing real dancing. But when he left, the quality went down slowly. You could see it in the style of the dancing. Also a lot of soul artists were not being presented. The soul was gone. A lot of new wave artists were being booked on the show and a lot of soul artists were not on the show. Their music was not played during the dance segments, either.
Soul Train: What are your thoughts on the 70s Soul Train and 80s Soul Train?
Derek Fleming: There will never be a Soul Train like the 70s. It was “unbridled soul power.” The sights and sounds of that era of the show are everlasting! The 80s were the “dance & dynasty era” of Soul Train. The Soul Train Gang made music look great!
Soul Train: There was a turning point on Soul Train in 1990 when a number of the dancers left, right?
Derek Fleming: Right. Basically, there was a picket line in front of the studio where Soul Train was taped. People from the actors unions were telling us dancers that if we were trying to get into the union, don’t dance on the show. But some of the dancers were already in the union and the union members who were picketing told them that if they continued to dance on Soul Train, which was a non-union show, they could lose their union cards. So that’s when several of the dancers left the show.
Soul Train: When did you stop dancing on Soul Train?
Derek Fleming: In 1990 I wasn’t coming to the show that often since I had some personal issues I was dealing with. I came back in 1991 with a new look which Michael Jackson and some other entertainers started to take after. The very last time I came to the show was in 1993 on its new set at Paramount Studios. My hair was long and I had a beard. Don Cornelius saw me and said, “Man, go on the center riser looking like Jesus!” (Laughs) That was the highest compliment coming from Don. After that, I stopped dancing on the show.
Soul Train: You are also a published author, right?
Derek Fleming: Yes. I published a book called “Get Me to the Train On Time”, which I am considering doing a rewrite of. It was published by Winston Publishing, Jan. 2, 1996. Those who are interested in reading it, the publishing number is TXu722910. I had given my manuscript to someone in the business and in the late 90s. Several popular movies came out loosely based on my manuscript.
Soul Train: What are you doing currently?
Derek Fleming: I am a corporate businessman and I have been married for 20 years. I also do paintings and art work. My artist name is D-Fox. Holla! (Laughs) I also have a music room which contains my collection of 5,000 albums.
Soul Train: What are your impressions of Don Cornelius?
Derek Fleming: I have high admiration for him. I always felt he recognized me. The floor director would tell me to come off the stage or risers but Don would tell me to get back up on the stage and risers. A few months ago, a street fair was held in Los Angeles and I ran into Don Cornelius and his son Tony and they both remembered me and we chatted. Tony thanked me for being on the show.
Soul Train: What is your overall experience with Soul Train? Would you do it again?
Derek Fleming: In a heartbeat! I am proud of all the time I gave to the show. To be a part of a show and organization that has become a part of the Smithsonian Institute is an honor.
Soul Train: What is your special message you want to send out to haters?
Derek Fleming: Blowing out someone else’s candle does not make you shine brighter. I’m shining in the glow of love. Get your shades! (Laughs)
Soul Train: Do you have any words of encouragement of wisdom you would like to leave with the readers?
Derek Fleming: When my mom died, I had a dream. To make your dream a reality, you just have to trust God.

Don Cornelius company. Soul Train Interview done by Stephen Hill
http://soultrain.com/2011/12/23/diary-of-an-ex-soul-train-dancer-derek-foxtails-fleming/

Franco's unique song to me

This is a unique song to me from Franco. I am speaking of Grand Maitre Franco. The man who founded OK Jazz and is the first King of Congolese Music. This song is a simple but yet a enjoyable song that I can not get enough of.


This song I am speaking about is the song called Ngai Kaka Bomboko. This song happens to be a political song but the hell cares. This song a great song to my eyes anyway. Franco always had something for people to talk about. This song is one of them. As for the subject, Franco was speaking about a Congolese Politician name Justin Bomboko who was a liked politician and was the one who tried to fight the colonial corrupt power. So Franco decided to make a song dedicating the song to him. Franco's singing starts to intesify as his lead vocals come. We hear a beautiful duo from Josky and Youlou. Franco was a happy man when making this song. It was a great political song from Franco and Franco always had a care for Congo. This is a good thing. Grand Maitre Franco will always hold to be the first King of Congolese Music.


Here is the song itself. This song is unique to my eyes.

Why I am the biggest Franco right now?


One fascinating thing about me is that I think I am the biggest fan of Franco. The thing is that I am 18 years old. I am a young guy and I should like other musicians but I found myself to be a big Franco fan.

I believe that I am the biggest Franco fan right now. I am so convinced about this because I am the biggest Franco defender at all his loyal fans. What people need to know is that Franco is the first King of Congolese Music then comes Pepe Kalle. Why do you think my name is Franco Pepe Kalle. Because I am a huge Franco fan and I apperciate his music so much.

Another factor is that Franco was a simple human being. He was able to smile in a show and you knew Franco enjoy making music and enjoyedd doing his entertainment. Franco was someone who knew how to relate to common people though he made big money and he was richer than any other Congolese musician. Franco just was able to put in a spot and wonder about life.

This is why I am a big fanatical fan of Franco. Franco will always be the Congolese Music First King.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Soul Train Dancers Remember Don Cornelius


So sorry for not being able to do some post the last two days. So much things going on as school, family, and facebook are comsuming my time these days. Sorry for that.

Here is one special thing to me is that some Soul Train Dancers decided to comment on their man Don Cornelius who died on the 3rd.



Here are some quotes from the dancers

PATRICIA DAVIS, 1971-1975 I felt that he was a strong father image who looked over the Soul Train Gang. I thank him for breaking open something that I was proud to be a part of. Don was the seed and he pulled us dancers in to be a part of that seed that evolved into a big “black” tree. He gave birth to something new and we were all a part of that birth.
DAMITA JO FREEMAN, 1971-1975 A pioneer has died, but a dream has been made and carried on by the pioneer.
JIMMY “SCOO B DOO” FOSTER, 1971-1974 If it weren’t for Don, many of us would never have been seen. If there was no Don Cornelius, locking, rap and hip-hop would not have been seen on television. Don made it okay for black people to have fun on television, to express who we were without prejudice. He made it okay for black artists to say it’s okay to be who I am. He even broke records by letting other races dance on his show. He opened up so many doors and opportunities for us all.
PERRY BROWN, 1971-1973 - I’m speechless. It’s very disturbing about what happened to Uncle Don. That’s what most of us called him that started on Soul Train. Uncle Don, I would just like to say to you that even though you are no longer with us physically, spiritually I know that you will receive this message. Most of us didn’t get the chance to thank you for the opportunity that was given to us, to share our talents with the world. When I think about it, I for one would not be the person that I am. I’m still referred to as Soul Train and I’m sure anyone that served time on Soul Train carries that identity wherever they go. It’s a proud title to carry.  We, the original Soul Train Gang as well as the Soul Train Dancers, love you. So, on behalf of all your kids that made up the original Soul Train Gang (1971-1974) and the Soul Train Dancers (1975-2006), we salute you. You will surely be missed. Rest in peace, Uncle Don.
YOLANDA TOUSSAINT SEAY, 1972-1975 Words can’t express the sorrow that our Soul Train family is feeling at the passing of Don Cornelius. Don made us a part of his “dream and vision.” Soul Train not only touched our lives, but the lives of many who wanted to learn the latest dance steps or the latest style of dress. The show even introduced new up and coming singing artists to the platform to showcase their talent, as well as seasoned singers. “It was the hippest trip inAmerica” and I will always be grateful for the privilege. Thank you, Don, for all the precious memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
VICKI ABERCROMBIE, 1972-1977 It’s very unfortunate. I was saddened by the news of Don’s passing. May he rest in peace.
CONNIE BLACKINO 1972-1975 Dear Don, you shall live in the hearts of many for yesterday, today, and our tomorrows. Your impact on so many lives will live on. I remember a motto from a plaque some of the dancers received: “Reach for the stars, you may fall on a mountain.” Well you taught us to reach for the stars and many of us did reach the mountain. To God’s Glory LOVE!!! PEACE!!! AND SOUL!!!
SHARON HILL WOOD 1972 -1978 I’m numb over Don’s death. He was a part of our lives. We saw him one weekend out of every month. He was like a distant dad. I’m proud that we are a part of his history.
THELMA DAVIS MARTIN 1972-1982 Don was instrumental in helping to build me into the woman I am today. Because of his belief and faith in himself he was able to push forward despite all odds. He was a true pioneer but his strength was bolstered by those whom he chose to surround himself with, and the dancers were a great part of his life. Originally we were the “Soul Train Gang” and he was very protective of us. As time passed we were allowed to venture off on our own without his watchful eye, and for this I am thankful.
TYRONE “THE BONE” PROCTOR, 1972-1978 Don Cornelius single-handedly saved black music. He took black music and made it visual and gave it a vehicle. There was no vehicle for this platform at that time. He also put black people in front of the camera and behind the camera. He was the first one to do that. His death affects me in the sense that something hit me in the chest and took my breath away.
EDDIE COLE, 1972-1975   Don, for me, always showed this strong, angry face. But for certain people he melted like butter and showed his sensitive side. I was fortunate to be one of those who could call him Uncle Don. We (Wanda Fuller and I) did the Scramble Board more times than I can remember, just because I’d say “Uncle Don! Can we do the the scramble board again?”
He held a lot inside. Even I knew that at a young age. R.I.P. Uncle Don…..
FREDDIE MAXIE, 1973-1976 If I had not met Don Cornelius, I wouldn’t have been where I am today or in the history book of Soul Train.
CYNTHIA “MAE WEST”, 1973-1984 If it weren’t for Don, a lot of people would not have gotten exposure. He helped a lot of people. He put black people on TV at a time when you didn’t see a lot of us on television.
ADOLFO “SHABBA DOO” QUNIONES (OF THE LOCKERS), 1973-1974 Don Cornelius was the first one to give us a stage to showcase our talents. Don is the emancipator of the street dance. He gave us one hour every Saturday to express ourselves. That is immeasurable.
CHERYL SONG, 1976-1990 I am very sad that Don Cornelius is no longer with us. He took a big risk on letting me, an Asian girl, dance on Soul Train and it opened up so many doors for me. I got to work with Michael Jackson, Rick James, and Lionel Richie, among others, because of Don. I will always appreciate him and I will never forget him.
DEREK “FOXTAILS” FLEMING, 1980-1993 We saw him not only as a business person, but like a dad. It’s very tragic to hear of his passing.
JULIETTE HAGERMAN, 1984-1993 Don was like an uncle to us. He will be in our hearts forever. I want to thank him that we were all a part of his family.
JEFFREY MCCRIMON, 1987-1994 and 1999-2001  Don, you deserve much praise and honor for what you have done for so many. I am honored and thankful for being a part of your gift to the world!
MANUEL REED, 1980-1990 I’m most grateful for the doors that he opened for me on an entertainment level from music, choreography, video and movies. I also learned from him how to handle yourself when a camera or microphone gets pointed in your direction. As dancers we’re all a part of TV history that is forever in the TV history books. No one can take that away from us. He’ll be missed dearly. RIP Don Cornelius with Love, Peace and Soul.
MONIQUE “QUE” CHAMBERS, 1988-2004 I am so honored to have had the opportunity to work with the legendary TV host Don Cornelius for 16 years as a Soul Train dancer. May Don rest in peace.  My prayers go out to his family, friends, and all who loved and supported him so dearly. Love, peace, and soul always and forever.
ALFIE LEWIS, 1995-2006 We had great times on the show. Don Cornelius will be missed!

http://soultrain.com/2012/02/09/the-soul-train-gang-remembers-don-cornelius/

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why two black legends die on black history month?

One thing that stands out to me is that two important in black music die on the black history month. It is so ironic to my eyes. It shocks me as we are celebrating Black History month and we have to find out that they are dead at this time.                     
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I am speaking about Soul Train founder Don Cornelius and R&B legend Whitney Houston. They both passed on the black history month. It is so sad because this is time to celebrate not to mourn.

What both happened was that they were in a depressing state and nobody wanted to help either pratically Whitney was known for a drug addiction. Whitney had a great night prior to her death when she drank a lot of champagne with her friends including most notably Kelly Price who says that Whitney made her a star. Don was having major decline health but he never wanted people to know that.

This is got to be something that was totally unexpected. We were expecting to have a good time where Don would continue to live while Whitney Houston would have been on a great comeback. Instead they are both dead and worse they die on the month where their imput is remembered.

RIP to both of these great black brother and sister. I hope they rest in well.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

NANA



I found a masterpiece song from my favorite Congolese late musical personnel Pepe Kalle. Pepe Kalle many times managed to always to make a great song that could stand out to me and he could always do something so unique and entertaining at the same time. That is a perfect combination.

One song that has that is the "NANA". NANA line is what made me even like Pepe Kalle more. Pepe Kalle's voice involved in that is what makes the line so great to hear over and over again. But the song I am talking that has that favorite line is the song called NANA HOUPHOUET-BOIGNY. Here is the Pepe Kalle song here talks about his love for Nana and not only he knows but he claims that many people like Africans and Congolese as well as Mobutu is aware of his love for her. Pepe Kalle knew how to make a story almost sound so real. I find that fascinating and fun for me.

Pepe Kalle does a great job on animations and he is able to put a great show on the smooth sebene. Pepe Kalle just knew how to take the dance floor so well. Pepe Kalle is a unique that was a great force to recon with.

Here is the song

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Soul Train diary one

As I said, more Soul Train stuff is coming and now I am going give a diary of one former Soul Train dancer. Her name is Yolanda Toussaint. Here is all her own words here.

Yolanda Toussaint

Interview with Soul Train (September 2011)

Soultrain.com: What were your aspirations when you were growing up in Los Angeles?

http://soultrain.com/2011/09/28/diary-of-an-ex-soul-train-dancer-presenting-soul-train-gang-regular-yolanda-toussaint/

PS, more Soul Train stuff to come up soon.
Yolanda Seay: To be a teacher. Dancing was just a hobby.
Soultrain.com: How did you become a Soul Train dancer?
Yolanda Seay: I was at a club called Mavericks Flat and Pam Brown, Soul Train’s dance coordinator, saw me and invited me to go on the show. At the time I didn’t have a partner so I didn’t go. But a few months later, I met Little Joe Chism (another popular Soul Train regular) at Mavericks Flat and we became friends. He was already dancing on Soul Train so he invited me to come to the show and we became dance partners.
Soultrain.com: What were your impressions when you first went on Soul Train?
Yolanda Seay: It was a lot of fun! I was literally in awe of all the lights, the cameras, and all the action.
Soultrain.com: Did dancing on Soul Train make you want to change your mind to have a career in dance?
Yolanda Seay: (Laughs) No. Dancing was just strictly a hobby.
Soultrain.com: Did you ever do the Scramble Board?
Yolanda Seay: Yes. Little Joe and I did the Scramble Board and we won a year’s supply of Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen products.
Soultrain.com: What do you remember most about Don Cornelius?
Yolanda Seay: I was very proud of him. I didn’t know that he owned the show until some time later. We didn’t really have a lot of black people who were entrepreneurs at that time so I was very impressed by that.
Soultrain.com: You and Little Joe were contestants in a Soul Train dance contest, which was judged by Don Cornelius and James Brown. What was that experience like?
Yolanda Seay: I was very nervous (laughs). But we just did our routine and had a good time.
Soultrain.com: Did you and Little Joe practice routines for the Soul Train line? Your routines were really together.
Yolanda Seay: No, we didn’t rehearse. We basically just free-styled down the line. We showcased the latest dances and the latest fashions.
Soultrain.com: When I danced on Soul Train, I remember some funny, “unplanned” mishaps on the Soul Train line–which caused retakes. Do you remember any?

Yolanda Seay: Yes. This guy was dancing down the line, just getting down, and all of a sudden his Afro wig came off and fell to the floor. (Laughs) Me and the other dancers laughed about that all weekend.
Soultrain.com: Did you have your share of fried chicken that was served to the dancers during tapings? (Laughs)
Yolanda Seay: (Laughs). Yes! We looked forward to the fried chicken that KFC sent over. We usually took breaks in the middle of the tapings and ate since we wouldn’t get out of the studio until around 11:30PM.
Soultrain.com: You wore a lot of terrific outfits on the show. Where did you buy your outfits?
Yolanda Seay: From Hollywood of course!
Soultrain.com: You’ve seen a lot of famous stars perform up close on Soul Train. What stars stand out from your memories?
Yolanda Seay: The Jackson 5, James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Al Green, Chaka Khan, and the Supremes, which was Little Joe’s favorite group. He was truly in love with them. Aretha Franklin was incredible! She sang her numbers live and her soulful voice echoed through the soundstage. Her raw talent left quite an impression on me.
Soultrain.com: Were you able to interact with and meet any of these celebrities personally?
Yolanda Seay: Yes. For example, when the Jackson 5 were on the show, Damita Jo Freeman (popular Soul Train regular) and Little Joe came up to me and said that we were going downstairs to meet them. I was so afraid we were going to get caught. But we met them all in their dressing room and took photos with them before they went upstairs to perform.
Soultrain.com: Do you have one very special “OMG” moment from Soul Train?

Yolanda Seay: Yes, when Marvin Gaye came to the show. He was singing “Let’s Get It On” and all of us dancers surrounded him on the floor. He was pulling different girls out of the crowd to sing to him when all of a sudden he pulled me out of the crowd and sang to me and afterwards I gave him a little kiss on the cheek.
Soultrain.com: You didn’t wash your lips for a month, right?
Yolanda Seay: (Laughs)

Soultrain.com: Do you have any embarrassing moments from Soul Train?
Yolanda Seay: Sort of. When Tina Turner was on the show, I asked her a question during the Soul Train Gang question and answer session.  She was staring directly at me and I got nervous and a bit tongue-tied. (Laughs)
Soultrain.com: Did you ever get recognized in public as a result of dancing on Soul Train?
Yolanda Seay: Little Joe and I were recognized by people we didn’t even know. We became instant stars. One time, we were in Hollywood, and all of these fans ran up to us and wanted our autographs.
Soultrain.com: Any other special memories from Soul Train?
Yolanda Seay: The Soul Train Christmas parties held every year were always so nice. We got to rub elbows with a lot of the entertainers that attended the parties.
Soultrain.com: Was it difficult to leave Soul Train after five years of being on the show?
Yolanda Seay: I kind of felt I was outgrowing it so I moved to northern California. I was working with the IRS at the time and so I was able to transfer to the IRS office in that location. But even after I stopped dancing on the show, I was still recognized. One time, after moving to northern California, I got off the train and a woman looked at me and said, “Don’t you dance on Soul Train?” (Laughs)  I was so blessed to have been on Soul Train.
Soultrain.com: What have you been doing in the years since leaving Soul Train?
Yolanda Seay: I got married and I have two sons and a daughter. I also make jewelry as a hobby.
Soultrain.com: In 1997, Little Joe helped put together the very first Soul Train Gang reunion. I had the pleasure of meeting you and the other dancers present. What was that experience like?
Yolanda Seay: It was so wonderful and long overdue. I hadn’t seen a lot of the dancers in years. I just wish it was sooner and more of the dancers could have attended. But it was very well organized.
Soultrain.com: Sadly, we lost Little Joe a year later. What would you like to say in memory of Little Joe Chism?
Yolanda Seay: His death was very devastating. We always managed to keep in touch throughout the years. He helped me get on Soul Train. He was very sociable and likeable and always had something nice to say. Plus he always gave you “the T!” (the truth).  If he were alive, he would have a million friends on Facebook.
Soultrain.com: Do you have a special message you want to share with the SoulTrain.com audience?
Yolanda Seay: I like to live by the golden rule: Treat people the way you want to be treated. Live the life you want to live and make the most of it. For instance, after Michael Jackson died, a friend of mine and I made a vow that we were going to go to all the concerts by the artists we want to see perform. So live life to the fullest and above all, keep God first!

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Franco vs Pepe Kalle: WAR BEGINS

Now I am doing one big thing that I never wanted to do but I am doing now since I have been asked to and I feel like is a bit controversial....