The question of why Don Cornelius took his own life in February may never be answered, but the TV and music icon’s son is spearheading a campaign of suicide awareness to prevent others from experiencing the same type of loss that befell him.
The result is the Don Cornelius Foundation, an organization that “not only concentrates on suicide awareness but it also focuses on providing information to people who are in need.”
“This is a huge, huge issue and it’s an issue that has a veil of shame over it. People are still very uncomfortable with who’s talking about suicide, Tony Cornelius said in a recent interview. “Breast cancer at one time was something that was under the table. Women didn’t want to discuss it. AIDS was something that was under the table. No one wanted to discuss it. I mean I think this is an opportunity to bring this to the surface.”
The creation of the foundation comes months after the suicide of Don Cornelius. Tony Cornelius admits to coping with his father’s passing on a day-to-day basis.
“I have good days and I have bad days. I was very, very close to my father. We talked every day. We had a good father and son relationship,” he said. “When I say a good father and son relationship, I mean we covered the gambit. Sometimes we were upset with each other. Many times we were very happy with each other. So I mean that’s life and that’s family. I’m doing fine. I’m doing really well.”
Although the desire to create the foundation was automatic, Cornelius revealed his motivation for quickly forging ahead with the idea came from a legendary source.
“Actually, this idea to move forward as quickly as possible really came from Stevie Wonder,” the activist staid. “I had a conversation with Stevie some three or four days after my father’s death and (he) suggested to me that I do something about it and life is worth living.
“The slogan for the foundation is ‘Life is beautiful, precious and worth living’ and I really learned that from Stevie Wonder, Cornelius added. “He spoke to me candidly and he made an impression on me and that type of impression that really brought me to wanting now to help people who are transitioning. In other words, those that have family members who have committed suicide and those that are thinking about suicide. So he was really the one that spawned this concept for me and I’m grateful to him for it.”
The foundation is currently building its board of directors and board of advisors as well as planning fundraising opportunities and aligning itself with a help line that will immediately provide information to those in need and “companies who are in the business of helping people.”
“Our mission is to help companies that exist, that are doing these things for a number of years using professionals, people who understand mental illness, suicide, depression, accidental death when it comes to suicide and depression,” said Cornelius.
One advantage on Cornelius’ side is his father’s celebrity, a point he says positions the former “Soul Train” host as “the face of suicide awareness.” With that, Cornelius is well aware of how suicide doesn’t discriminate.
“I think our target is all people. It’s not those that just knew my father we’re targeting. It’s anyone. I don’t think suicide has a claim of reference. It’s in the air. It’s colorless, in other words, but our community has a very high percentage of young black males that are now deciding to transition this way and we’re very active in that area,” he said. “… if we can save one person or if we can ask ‘how can I help you’ or where does it hurt?’ we’ve done what we’re supposed to do. So it really takes people who can see, who can pay attention, who can say ‘I have a friend of mine that’s in a bad way and I really want to help.’ That’s really what it’s about. If someone had asked my father ‘How can I help you and where does it hurt?’ he may have answered the question. But if you don’t ask those questions, you will never know.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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