Saturday, February 04, 2012

Facebook-organized flash mob pays tribute to Don Cornelius with "Soul Train Line" in Times Square

The Internet, and particularly Facebook, played a large part in a tribute to the creator of "Soul Train" on Saturday, as a flash mob descended on Times Square in New York City to honor Don Cornelius, just a few days after his death of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 75.

According to the Facebook flash mob invitation, about 1,200 said they would attend, with more than 500 maybes. Of those, 100 danced in an homage to the show, simulating the show's familiar "Soul Train Line" routine.

In the "Soul Train Line," as it was shown on television in the program's heyday, all the dancers formed two lines with a space in the middle for dancers to strut their stuff and dance in one at a time. Originally, this consisted of a couple, with men on one side of the aisle and women on the other.

The dancers shimmied down Broadway for about 45 minutes until police finally asked them to leave. Some were wearing afro wigs and bell bottoms, to better fit the image of some of the "Soul Train" show's biggest year.

Flash mobs (sometimes called flashmobs) are groups of people who assemble, often seemingly out of nowhere, in a public place, perform some act, often unusual and pointless act for a short while, and then disperse. They are generally organized, as this one was, via social media, the Internet, emails, or even text messages.

Don Cornelius' body was discovered by a family member at about 4 a.m. PST on Wednesday. He was pronounced dead at 4:56 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of "an apparent suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Cornelius married his childhood sweetheart, Delores Harrison, in 1956, and the couple had two children, Anthony and Raymond, before divorcing.

He then married Russian model Viktoria Chapman in 2001, and that marriage ended in divorce as well. In 2008, he was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence for beating his wife, after which he pled no contest in 2009 and served three years probation.

It's still unclear why Cornelius committed suicide, but he was apparently experiencing health issues. According to former Soul Train host and "Criminal Minds" actor Shemar Moore, Cornelius may have been suffering from early onset dementia or Alzheimer's disease and his health had been on the decline.

Watch a video of the flash mob below.

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