February 02, 2012

Celebrating Black History Month with Soul Train and Ultra Sheen

I decided to repost this Black History post in dedication to Don Cornelius may he rest in peace...

In August of 2010, Time Life commemorated Soul Train's 40th Anniversary with the release of a DVD box set. The box set includes interviews with the Soul Train Dancers, and show performers, their live show performances, as well as the classic commercials from the Soul Train sponsors Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen :o)

Soul Train premiered on WCIU-TV on August 17, 1970 as a live show that aired on weekday afternoons. In October of 1971, Soul Train aired in national syndication with co-sponsor the Johnson Products Company.

The Johnson Product Company’s Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen commercials were some of the first of their kind, produced exclusively for black audiences. The company was launched in 1954 after George Johnson borrowed $500–half from a bank and the other half from a friend. It was the first hair care brand developed specifically for African American hair.

The company’s first product was Ultra Wave, a hair relaxer for men. By the end of the 60s, the company boasted annual sales of over $10 million, and during the 70s Johnson Products ranked as the largest African American–owned manufacturing company in the nation.

Soul Train aired throughout the “Black is Beautiful” movement which was birthed from the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. “Black is Beautiful” was primarily responsible for the Afro’s popularity.

This movement encouraged blacks to feel good about how they looked, and attempted to undue the notion that their natural traits were ugly.

The "Black is Beautiful" movement advocated black women and men to embrace their natural features, by encouraging them to stop straightening their hair and bleaching their skin. The images portrayed on Soul Train and the Ultra Sheen commercials reinforced this notion...

If you would like to read more on Soul Train and/or the Ultra Sheen commercials check out - Blackness In All Its Beauty an article I had the opportunity to write for Soul Train's website.

Check out one of the popular Ultra Sheen Commercials that featured Afros, Puffs and Cornrows :o)

I had to post a Soul Train line dance vid :o) This features Fred Wesley and The JBs' song Doing It To Death.

For more videos check out Soul Train's YouTube Channel

Peace and Blessings...

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