Monday, February 6, 2012

PUBLISHER'S PEACE Legends and Pioneers

C/Dwayne West, CEO/Managing Editor

There are people who inspire, just because they are positive and inspirational people. When you see them, they always have a warm and inviting smile on their faces. When they address you it’s always as though you’re all that counts at that moment. I love people like that and crave to be in their presence.

Then there are the people who motivate and inspire you to climb the highest mountains, swim the deepest seas and break through the strongest doors. These are the people who have shown you the way to prosperity and accomplishment. These men and women have paved ways through obstaclees that seemed impossible, but knew it was their mission to complete.

These are the legends and pioneers of America's popular culture and what they share with the world and their communities are enough to motivate even the harshest of critics to take notice and recognize their successful endeavors. These men and women dreamed an impossible dream and believed in those dreams enough to fulfill them. They knew that if it was to get done, they were the ones to do it.

John H. Johnson 
Mr. Johnson was a pioneer and legend. He was loved, admired and respected for his vision and determination to see that a dream placed in his soul was going to shine through, regardless of the difficult circumstances and racial prejudices during the time his dream was breaking through.

He once told me when I was fortunate enough to be invited to his office before his untimely death, that if he could do what he did with everything against him, then I can easily accomplish my goals because things are much better now. But he also said to not be fooled, what you can't see in some cases can hurt you, but it's your to lose.

I never forgot those words and the red tie in the picture above, was in memory of him during his final resting hours in the lobby of his historic building. He expressed in his book (Succeeding Against the Odds) that a red tie shows power. My photo was taken in the lobby of Johnson Publishing Company on South Michigan Ave. while he lied in state. This photo means so much to me!

The United States Postal Service has just revealed a stamp in honor of Mr. Johnson. And his image will forever be stamped in history. Today’s generation who don't read the now struggling magazines can have pieces of him even if they don't own subscriptions to his iconic brands.

Don Cornelius 
Was a man on a mission when he decided to retire as a cop. He also gave up his duties doing voice-overs at WVON to pursue what he called a labor of love and create this Black duplicate of American Bandstand. He was determined and was the right man at the right time. Believe it, he actually asked several of his hood buddies to join him on this hippest trip and they didn't think he could make a go of it.

So with his passion and vision, he chose to continue his pursuit, even after his friends denounced his ambition. And we know the rest is history. I never had the chance to meet him, and when he returned to Chicago last September for Soul Train's 40th Anniversary, I was unable to attend, but Lord knows I wanted to. His legacy has inspired me to transform my thinking and reach for the impossible making all the difference in where I've come from to now.

Cornelius was a man ahead of his time. He was a man who knew his strengths and believed in his ability to conceive, create and deliver a product that once the world got a look, would become a television staple. Those Black stylish dancers flaunting their groove thang and seeing amazingly talented performers flexing their muscle for all to see became a household favorite.

He was right and everybody else except for a few of his homies during the sixties was also right. Soul Train was born and hundreds of excited young brothers and sisters got a chance to display their funky outfits, afros and slick dance moves on a national platform. Cornelius, a legend and pioneer for all to admire and emulate. One Love, Peace and SOOOUUUL - (R.I.P. D.C.).

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