Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Soul Train Gang Re-Invented

Mattel's 1993 Soul Train Shani, Asha, Jamal, and Nichelle

These dolls were not readily accessible when I posted my Don Cornelius tribute because they were stored in a Baby Crissy doll box that was inaccessible at the time.  I gained access to the box yesterday to see if my Mego Diana Ross was also in it.   Unfortunately, Ross was not. The only other doll in the box with Soul Train Shani, Asha, Jamal, and Nichelle was Party 'N Play Stacie. 

I photographed the Soul Train dolls and returned them to the box along with several cloth dolls that had been on a built-in shelf in the doll room. I took precautions to remember where these are stored in the event they are needed in the future.   Party 'N Play Stacie remained free to join my Skipper and Janet dolls

If I could assign true identities to Mattel's Soul Train dolls based on popularity and gender, Shani would be Jody Watley, who began dancing on Soul Train at age 14 in the 1970s.  Asha would be Rosie Perez (Soul Train dancer, late 1980s).  Jamal would be Jeffrey Daniel (Jody Watley's Soul Train dance partner, also said to have pioneered Michael Jackson's moon walk).  Nichelle would be dancer/choreographer Damita Jo Freeman (shown far right in the photo at the previous link).

Prior to dancing on Soul Train, Damita Jo was one of the few African American dancers on American Bandstand and became a successful TV show choreographer and actor.  Jody and Jeffrey transitioned from Soul Train dancers to becoming two of the original Shalamar members.  Rosie made her acting debut in Spike Lee's 1989 Do The Right Thing.

See Damita Jo amaze James Brown and Joe Tex with her robotic dance moves in the following Soul Train video.



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18 comments:

  1. These dolls are too cute and the identities you gave them are right on point. Peace, love and soooouuuuul.

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  2. It is good to know that someone has the complete set! I agree with Hugs, they are too cute! Peace, Love and soooouuuuul!

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  4. Trying once more with feeling and proofreading:

    Thank you, Hugs and Ms. Leo. This is a nice group of dolls. I should have left them out, but I really don't have room to display them.

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  5. Wow, Miss Ross sure is being elusive! I wonder if maybe she was kidnapped by a coalition of your other dolls who want to be seen, Debbie?

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    1. Quite possible; I haven't given her any attention in years... didn't include her in any of my three books and I owned her before publishing each. That's reason enough for her to remain elusive.

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  6. Very nice. I have them, but not the Jamal. Very nice set.

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    1. Thank you! My Jamal's "skin" looks sweaty.

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  7. Thanks for the blast from the past video. I remember my older cousins trying those dance moves but I don't think I got to see "Soul Train" very often in those days so I hadn't seen the original source. Damita Jo was something else!

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    1. Damito Jo was fabulous! I remember her from American Bandstand, too. She and one very handsome, clean-cut AA male are the only two African American dancers I remember from American Bandstand. She, was not the male's dance partner, so there had to be at least two other AA dancers on AB -- partners for the handsome male and for Damita Jo.

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  8. Wow. Now that's dancing, ;-D. Damita Jo sure had energy and skills.

    The Soul Train line of Shani dolls is cute. Hot pants and all!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Good luck urging your Diana Ross to make an appearance.

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  9. This is a nice set of dolls! Thanks for the video - I loved watching Damita Joe doing the robot!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed this post and the video, Roxanne.

      :-)

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    2. Tthat was was like bringing back the past. Sorry I never bought those dolls, I was busy having my own dolls.

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    3. I am glad you enjoyed this Lady Rose!

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  10. Girl, you got me jammin' early this morning. I love Damita Joe! This is my first time knowing about her, though. I knew the other three, but hadn't seen them dance on Soul Train, but knew they had gotten their start there. I used to watch Soul Train every Saturday morning. Now, I still watch it, on the new Bounce channel. Great set of dolls. Time for a museum. Those dolls should be on display!

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    1. Good morning, Vanessa,

      Glad I was able to put some pep in your step this morning.

      This is a fun set of dolls. Mattel did a wonderful job capturing in doll form the Saturday morning past time from back in the day for those whose ritual was to watch Soul Train every Saturday morning.

      I remember Damita Jo from Soul Train as well as American Bandstand. The girl had moves!

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