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That’s What She Said, Don Cornelius, Honour Killing verdict

2 February 2012 No Comments

By Darling Nicky

Soul Train creator dead at 75

“My heart remains heavy a full 24 hrs later. A man who entertained countless should not have died alone. May his “soul” rest in peace.” via @darlingnicky999 on Twitter

In the early hours of February 1st, as I launched a number of social applications to wish everyone a warm start to Black History Month, my eager fingers were silenced by the shocking news that Don Cornelius, creator and long-time host of the popular black music TV show Soul Train was found dead at his home in Los Angeles at age 75.  Even more surprising were the unconfirmed (sadly however, now confirmed) reports that he died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

While every other news site and blog has [by now] paid tribute to this groundbreaking visionary by recounting his Soul Train journey, my thoughts are lingering in the aftermath of how his passing has played out as one of the most [literal] tragedies of our time.  It’s difficult to conceive what moves a man who had such tremendous influence on a generation (or two, or three) by popularizing Black Music, Black Culture and Black Pride on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, to end his life so gruesomely.  It certainly is a very harsh reminder that even the most accomplished individuals are not immune to life’s personal challenges, be it in health, mind or spirit.  Former Soul Train host Shemar Moore has mentioned to the press that Cornelius may have been suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

In spite of the circumstances surrounding his death, Don Cornelius will be remembered for ambitiously giving Soul music a platform to be heard in living rooms across a nation, at a time when black people needed outlets to express their pride in culture.  Soul Train can be attributed for pioneering the coolest dances, popularizing the Afro, and most importantly, taking us on “the hippest trip in America”.

“… and you can bet your last money, it’s all gonna be a stone gas, honey! I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!”

#thatswhatSHEsaid  (actually, it’s what HE said!)


Honour Killing Verdict

“Honour has got to be one of the most abstract and subjective concepts ever.” via @darlingnicky999 on Twitter

The verdict came down in one of the most controversial murder trials of our time when three members of the polygamous Shafia family out of Montreal were found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder by a jury in Kingston, ON.  Mohammad Shafia, 58, his 2nd wife Tooba Yahya Mohammed, 42, and son Hamed Shafia, 21, were each held to the same level of accountability in the heinous drowning deaths of daughters, Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, and first wife Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, whose bodies were found trapped in a Nissan Sentra submerged in a canal in Kingston, ON.  The prosecution argued that the three conspired to kill their family members as a consequence to having brought perceived shame to the family by embracing Western culture reflected in their behavior.  It was shown that the parent-son trio staged the deliberate drowning as an accident, although damage to the family’s other car more than corroborated the theory that the Nissan containing the four women had been pushed into the canal with the dead or unconscious women trapped inside.

The judge who read the verdicts in court referred to the motive as being “a twisted concept of honour”.

“It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honourless crime,” Ontario Superior Court Judge Robert Maranger said.

A case like this ignites an undercurrent of post 9/11 cultural misunderstandings that serve as a reminder that as cosmopolitan of a society as we boast here in this nation, that we are undeniably united in an expected adherence to the Criminal Code of Canada, and that it is simply not acceptable to deliberately take another person’s life regardless of any cultural justification.

Think about it, if “honour killings” were to hold any merit in our society, would that give scorned wives of cheating husbands the go-ahead to take out their spouses because they dishonoured their wedding vows?

“The Shafia’s may have had a twisted notion of honour, but the jury certainly had a clear notion of justice.” via @darlingnicky999 on Twitter


Darling Nicky is an entertainment writer, blogger and publicist.  Check out her out at www.darlingnicky.ca

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