Two days. Two deaths. First Bernie Mac, now Black Moses, Isaac Hayes.
I consider myself to be a music connoisseur, however, I was quite embarrassed to realize that I knew very little of Isaac Hayes’ music beyond the theme from “Shaft.” My iPod currently holds over 10,000 songs and there is nary an Isaac Hayes cut in the bunch. Last night, my wife and I struggled to hum any of his melodies. So I had to go to iTunes and listen to song snippets to try and jog my memory. Some of the tunes were a bit familiar, but I’m sad to say that my Isaac Hayes music knowledge is quite dismal.
My ignorance prompted me do an Isaac Hayes Google search and I stumbled upon his official website. I learned that beyond being a seminal soul musician, Hayes was a humanitarian who worked to improve conditions in Africa and to abolish illiteracy. He established The Isaac Hayes Foundation, whose mission is to enable people around the world to become whole by promoting literacy, music education, nutritional education, and innovative programs that raise self-esteem among the underprivileged and teach young people how to study.
Hayes was a father to 12 children. Twelve! Can you believe that? I couldn’t imagine having to support so many kids. Maybe it is cheaper by the dozen.
In addition to being a 12-time dad, Hayes was also a Ghanaian king. In 1992, Nene Kubi III appointed Hayes King for Development and given a royal name: Nene Katey Ocansey I. Nene means king in the Ga Dialect. Katey means brave warrior who can calm the wild beast in the elements. Ocansey is a family name of the most powerful of the ten clans in a region of Ghana. Although Hayes was honored by the accolades, he chose to use this opportunity to advance economic development and literacy throughout the continent.
Perhaps, this quote from Hayes best summarizes his philosophy on life:
I preach this message of personal responsibility to my children on a daily basis and I hope more people learn to embrace it.
So tonight, I plan to fill my iPod with Isaac Hayes’ music and bask in the hot-buttered soul. Hush yo mouf’!