Woeful Weekend pt. 2…

This one hits hard because I love music (almost unhealthily). I am especially sensitive to the pioneers and trailblazers of the art form and there aren’t many more significant to the last 40 years than Isaac Hayes. News reports state that he was found by his current wife in his home. He was pronounced dead at 2:08am here in Memphis at Baptist East Hospital. Ironically, Rick McCory, our church’s bass player, joked that he thought the song “I Stand Amazed” on our song list read “I Stand Accused”. I proceeded to dust off my best “Black Moses” baritone and sing the song, oblivious to his passing just hours prior. Black Moses, as he was affectionately known, used soul and funk to minister to the emotional and social hearts of pop culture during the late 1960’s and 70’s. He helped popularize Memphis-based Stax Records keep America groovin’ while giving African Americans something to be proud of. He composed the theme for the movie Shaft and made everyone wish they had a personal theme song. His orchestral arrangements reshaped the soulful sound. He took Burt Bacharach classics like “Walk On By” and “The Look of Love” and transformed them into epic, 10+ minute, soulful-symphonies.

Hayes was a shining (literally) example of black pride, prestige and influence. He was not just another rich guy wearing a chain (literally). He used his celebrity to motivate people and support contemporary causes like Youth for Human Rights International and the One Campaign. During his eventful life, Isaac compiled a very respectable film and television career, despite having no formal training. He appeared in Keenen Ivory Wayans’ comedy I’m Gonna Git You Sucka as well as Oscar-worthy indy-drama Hustle & Flow. He most recently noted for his voice role as “Chef” on the controversial animated comedy South Park. One of his final film appearances is in the yet-to-be-released Soul Men in which he shares the screen with recently deceased Bernie Mac. They will both miss the premier. God bless these men’s families.

Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008)

Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008)

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