Yes, my parents danced on Soul Train
The coolest press pass I ever got while working for a newspaper
Writer’s note: This post was first published on Medium’s “Tickled” on December 3, 2022 and will now be permanently housed on Substack’s new “Tickled” column.
Cool. It’s not always the first word you think of when you describe parents. Mine can vary between laidback and no-nonsense, funny and frustrating. Half the time I look at them as my parents, and the other half of the time they’re as much friends as they are my creators. One of my most entertaining moments — of hundreds — with my “friendly” parents was that time I got press passes for the “Soul Train” reunion to honor Clinton Ghent.
It took me all of five seconds to know who I’d invite to this honorary event to pay homage to the Chicago host of the “Soul Train” TV show. Why would I not invite my parents to a “Soul Train” party? These were the same people who rushed to get in line for an impromptu “Soul Train” line at family reunions, family birthday parties and pretty much anywhere else my mother’s side of the family decided to gather. I don’t think there’s one wallflower in the bunch.
Recommended Read: “Historic Soul Train Party Rolls Through Chicago”
When I was a kid (and an adult) and one of their favorite songs came on, I knew they were about to start grooving when two things happened. First, my mother would started mouthing the words to a song (50% of the time, she was singing the wrong words and didn’t care) and immediately started Chicago stepping in place. Or, my father pointed his index finger in the air and let out a “whoo” before he started bobbing his head super hard. If those two did that at the same time, move a table. They need room.
So imagine my surprise when my parents arrived at the studio for Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV), and my mother got camera shy. Something about seeing that they would be filmed live and dancing didn’t sit right with her.
“But Mom, it’s ‘Soul Train,’” I explained. “What’d you expect to happen at the Chicago version of Don Cornelius’ show? Look at Clinton Ghent over there, having the time of his life.”
I pointed, and true indeed, the Chicago host had his collar popped out and was dancing with any woman who came near him. At some point, the ladies took turns. I don’t even think they came with dates. They seemed to all want to dance with him.