Since word surfaced that producer and television host Don Cornelius died early Wednesday, everyone—from celebrities and tastemakers to music moguls and influencers—have expressed their sentiments on the loss, namely on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Nowadays, the digital space is one of the first places people go to sound off on what’s happening in real time. BlackEnterprise.com perused the Twitterverse, aggregating tweets that touched on the legacy of the Soul Train creator. Check out the touching tweets left by Cornelius’ adoring fans, friends and colleagues. –Janel Martinez
William “Smokey” Robinson, Singer, Songwriter, Producer and Former Record Executive @smokey_robinson
Smokey Robinson was no stranger to “the hippest trip in America,” most notably performing a duet with Aretha Franklin on one of his songs, “Ooo Baby Baby.” Franklin played the piano.
Robinson tweeted, “I regret hearing about the loss of Don Cornelius; it’s a musical tragedy. He brought exposure and positive image to black talent.”
Reverend Al Sharpton, Baptist Minister and Political, Civil Rights, and Social Justice Activist @TheRevAl
A young Al Sharpton appeared on the longest-running, first-run, nationally syndicated program back in 1974. Sharpton appeared on the show to honor his idol, James Brown, for his classic song “The Payback.”
“I am shocked and grief stricken by the reported suicide of Don Cornelius of ‘Soul Train’. I have known him since I was 19 years old,” tweeted Sharpton.
Robin Roberts, Anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America @RobinRoberts
The newscaster tweeted: “Very sad to hear about the death of Don Cornelius, former host of ‘Soul Train.’ Grew up watching that show: ‘peace, love and sooooul.’ RIP.”
Touré, author of Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness: What It Means to be Black Now @Toure
The writer and cultural critic tweeted the news to his over 50,000 followers, saying, “Don Cornelius was brilliant and the epitome of cool. He created an iconic show and hosted it in a suave way. Everything he wore was custom.”
Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Chairman and CEO of Epic Records and Judge on X Factor USA @LA_Reid
L.A. Reid called Cornelius “a true American icon,” in his reflective tweet. The seasoned music executive followed that up with a variation of the television host’s signature saying, “Love, Peace and Soul.”
Mary J. Blige, Grammy-Winning Singer and Songwriter @maryjblige
The soulful singer retweeted a follower, adding, “Not good news to wake up to. I’m here in LA, one town over from Sherman Oaks.”
Shanti Das, Music Industry Executive, Marketing Executive, Author, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Mentor and Philanthropist @ShantiDas404
“R.I.P. Don Cornelius,” tweeted the founder and CEO of Press Reset Entertainment. “Thank you for your amazing contributions to the music industry. So sad…”
“R.I.P. Mr. Don Cornelius,” Mariah Carey expressed to her more than 5 million followers. “His historic contribution to our lives will never be forgotten.”
Gwen Ifill,Award-Winning Journalist, Moderator, and Best-Selling Author @pbsgwen
Native New Yorker Gwen Ifill admitted to wanting to cut a rug with the fly girls and dapper dudes seen on Soul Train. “I never could get my Afro to work right, but I am among the legion who wanted a turn on that Soul Train line. #DonCornelius RIP.”
“To my great and trusted friend…the amazing Don Cornelius –Love, Peace and Soul forever!!!! #RIPDonCornelius,” tweeted the former Universal Motown Music executive.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Former Lakers Star, Businessman and HIV/AIDS Advocate @MagicJohnson
The NBA star turned business mogul sent his condolences to the Cornelius family, especially longtime friend Tony Cornelius. Johnson notes the television icon’s “immeasurable” contribution to us all in his tweet.