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New York’s Ujamaa Black Theater is planning a special tribute show to honor the late Bernie Mac, who died of pneumonia last August at age 50.       

       The company has placed an ad in Back Stage – an entertainment-industry magazine with a special focus on casting – seeking black actors, singers, and comedians, as well as look-alikes for Mac, Isaac Hayes and James Brown, according to the New York Post.       

       In the meantime, fans of the comic can look forward to one more blast of Bernie in the movies with Disney’s “Old Dogs,” in which he co-stars with John Travolta and Robin Williams.       


Hip-Hop World Doesn’t Forget Isaac Hayes October 3, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment,Hip Hip — Ryann Hayman @ 6:38 pm
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Hip hop honors

It was nice to read that the hip-hop world, including Cee-Lo, Public Enemy and Scarface, remembered Isaac Hayes, who died in August at the age of 65, at last night’s VH1’s Fifth Annual Hip-Hop Awards at The Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. 

According to AllHipHop.com:

A number of rappers and R&B singers paid homage to the Hayes, who influenced several generations of artists with his musical genius.

Public Enemy performed songs like “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos,” which incorporated a portion of Hayes’ classic track “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic.”

Scarface rapped his verse on “My Mind’s Playing Tricks on Me,” which utilized a sample from Hayes’ track “Hung Up On My Baby,” from the album Tough Guys.

Scarface was influenced by all of Hayes’ album, including Hayes’ groundbreaking release Black Moses, which earned acclaimed for its fold-out album artwork, in addition to its extended grooves, which was unheard of from a black artist.

“Black Moses, s**t, that’s my n**a, he’s a bad mother f***er,” Scarface told AllHipHop.com. “My most memorable moment [was] with Isaac Hayes in Virgin Studios for four or five hours. I was showing him my reels and we just kicked it talking about everything. After that, he had an interview in The Source, and spoke real highly of me.”

Estelle, Mos Def and Cee-Lo also played songs that Hayes composed or sang.

The awards, which airs Monday, was hosted by comedian Tracy Morgan.



Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryann Hayman @ 3:43 pm
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The estate of famed singer-musician Isaac Hayes will be divided among his widow Adjowa, his children and the Isaac Hayes Foundation, which promotes literacy, music and nutrition.       

       According to the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Hayes’ will was filed last week in Probate Court, but the value and contents of the estate has not been filed.      

       Hayes, 65, was discovered by his wife, son and his wife’s cousin who returned home from buying groceries to find him on the floor of a downstairs bedroom on Aug. 10. After being taken to hospital, Hayes was pronounced dead.


       Part of Hayes’ humanitarian work included building a school in Ghana.


Isaac Hayes’ Family Wants Songs Back August 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryann Hayman @ 12:54 am

Soul legend Isaac Hayes‘ family is to launch legal action to retrieve the rights to his hit songs. The singer’s back catalog, which includes classics such as “Do Your Thing” and “Theme from Shaft,” was sold for $30,000 on the orders of a court following his bankruptcy in 1976.

Now his relatives are planning to recover the rights to the material – which is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in royalties – to provide financial security for his widow and two-year-old son.

An elder son, Isaac Hayes III, says, “He definitely was done wrong. I’m very passionate about that (providing security for the family). If that means me trying to get my father’s material back, I’m all for it.”

Hayes’ solicitor, Allen Arrow, says, “I can’t rule out litigation… I would hope that we can retrieve a good part of what he lost.”

And Lance Armstrong, president of Rondor Music, which owns the publishing rights to Hayes’ songs, added: “He lost millions, and it was morally and ethically wrong to take it from him. He was devastated.”

The soul singer died from a stroke earlier this month.


ISAAC HAYES AIRPORT? NOT SO FAST: Congressman floated idea during memorial; Memphis officials say it’s unlikely August 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryann Hayman @ 3:05 pm

A congressman had his hopes up too high when suggesting at Isaac Hayes’ memorial service Monday that Memphis International Airport could be changed to honor the late soul musician.


      Wild applause from the gathered mourners followed the suggestion by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, but airport officials said a name change is unlikely.


      Airport board chairman Arnold Perl told The Commercial Appeal newspaper that Memphis is one of the most respected and recognized brands in the world. According to the Associated Press, Perl said Hayes was a great ambassador for Memphis, but the current airport name best serves the city’s needs.


      Cohen said Tuesday he would draft a letter to the Airport Authority formally making the suggestion to change the airport name.


COLUMNIST NOTES POLITICS AT ISAAC HAYES MEMORIALS: Fox.com’s Roger Friedman details the drama August 20, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryann Hayman @ 2:42 pm

Fox.com columnist Roger Friedman has written a piece that takes a closer look at memorial services held Sunday and Monday for Isaac Hayes.


      As previously reported, Sunday’s ceremony was a private affair that included a host of celebrities, while Monday’s gathering at Hope Presbyterian Church was for the public. Leading up to the memorial, church leaders had been protesting news that a Scientologist minister would lead the service.


      Friedman addresses the necessity of the two services, the Scientology presence and much more in his Tuesday column, featured below:


      Isaac Hayes, Oscar-winner, R&B legend and musical icon, got two sendoffs in two days here in his Tennessee hometown, and each was as strange as it was surreal. Monday afternoon had been billed as a tribute to Hayes, and many in the Memphis music community thought it would be the day of the Stax Records star’s actual funeral. But in fact, a “secret” service was held on Sunday in order to accommodate a boatload of celebrities who flew into town under cloak of night.

       Some were associated with the Church of Scientology, of which Hayes was a member for the last 16 years, including Tom Cruise, church leaders David Miscavige and Tom Davis, actress Anne Archer (who is Davis’ mom), Kelly Preston (aka Mrs. John Travolta), musicians Chick Corea and Mark Isham, and comic Doug E. Fresh.       

       But then there were the celebs who just zipped in and zipped out for the Sunday service with no religious connection to Hayes: Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, musicians Bootsy Collins and Chuck D., Earth Wind & Fire’s Maurice White, R&B great Denise La Salle, directors John Singleton and Craig Brewer, and actor Richard Roundtree, who played the original John Shaft in the movie for which Isaac got his Oscar for Best Music in a Motion Picture. The Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were there, too.       

        And then there were what might be described as two other factions, each belonging to one larger group: the locals. They were the musicians Isaac had known and grown up with for 40 years, including Stax chiefs Jim Stewart and Al Bell, Eddie Floyd, Sir Mack Rice, William Bell, Marvell Thomas, Mabel John, Pat Lewis and the original back-up singers from Isaac’s albums, song collaborator David Porter and all of the band members who’d comprised Isaac’s road shows for the last four decades.       

        The other side of the local coin included his 11 grown children, three ex-wives, 2-year-old son, his widow, and many friends who had come in cars, buses and trains from all over the country to pay their final respects. Booker T Jones, of Booker T and the MGs, took three flights to Memphis to make the Monday service after playing in New York on Friday night and Nantucket on Saturday night.       

        The Scientologists and the Memphians were certainly not an easy mesh, as the Memphis Commercial Appeal noted for several days leading up to the funerals. The Hope Presbyterian Church, a big, hulking concrete church, was chosen for its size. But the church leaders did not want a Scientologist minister leading a service there. So the memorial service, planned mostly by the Scientologists, was hosted by R&B star William Bell as a compromise.       

        During the service, we learned from the Rev. Alfreddie Johnson how Hayes became a Scientologist in 1992 in Los Angeles. Many others invoked the name of the religion’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, during the three-hour memorial, and the church filmed its members at the podium.       

        But no one bothered to sing an Isaac Hayes song or talk much about his music. Most of the offerings were about the speakers, with little light shined on the man they were honoring. The exception was a Ghanian woman named Princess Asie Oscansey, who described in lengthy detail the charitable contribution Hayes had made to her village to support an 8,000-square-foot school that uses Scientology teaching methods.

        Not only were there no Hayes songs, there was little discussion of his movie career, barely a whisper about his famous “Theme from Shaft,” and not even a suggestion of his long, funny career as Chef on “South Park.”

        The Scientology speakers and performers — there were seven in all — made little reference to Hayes’ 11 grown children, just to his wife of three years and their 2-year-old son. This prompted Hayes’ eldest daughter, Veronica, who didn’t get to speak until nearly two and a half hours had passed, to declare, “Just to clear it up, there are 11 children.” Ouch!         

        There also were tributes from Isaac’s music celebrity friends, like Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Sam Moore and Aretha Franklin.       

        The frisson, if you will, between the Memphians and the Scientologists was a first, but had an interesting aspect to it. Each is more or less a closed society, and neither was much interested in learning anything about the other — though there were occasional compliments tossed in either direction.       

        Hayes was buried, by the way, not next to his beloved grandmother, but in a cemetery described by his music friends, somewhat bitterly, as “mostly all Caucasian.”

       Luckily, here’s a great footnote: Despite these odd events, Isaac’s real friends finally got to throw him a going away party late Monday night. It happened at an unlikely place: the restaurant lounge at the Executive Inn at the airport.

        Every musician associated with Stax or who had known or worked with Isaac and was around was invited by Randy Stewart and Gene Mason to come down and put on a show. And so they did, with a hot pick-up band that included Marvell Thomas, Ben Cauley, Ronnie Williams and various members of Stax groups like the MadLads, Bar Kays, Temprees and Soul Children.       

        The place was so packed that the heat became an issue, and people kept dragging in larger and larger fans. Memphis stalwarts like Toni Greene and Stacey Marino sang, and eventually Isaac’s Sam & Dave hits like “Hold On I’m Coming” and “When Something Is Wrong with My Baby” were sung by the whole crowd.       

        It was a glorious, proper ending to a wild day, proving Memphis R&B lives on no matter what.


ISAAC HAYES CELEBRATED IN MEMPHIS: Jesse Jackson, Richard Roundtree among celebs at Monday’s memorial August 19, 2008

Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 3:00 pm
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The life and legacy of soul legend Isaac Hayes were celebrated in his hometown of Memphis at two gatherings – a private burial service on Sunday and a public memorial held yesterday with 3,000 fans and friends in attendance.


       Sunday’s ceremony included Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise and Wesley Snipes; while the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Chuck D., Bootsy Collins and actor Richard Roundtree were on hand for Monday’s farewell, according to the Associated Press.      

       “What would you say if you were flying into Memphis and they said you are about to land at Isaac Hayes International Airport,” U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen asked the mourners, drawing a huge round of applause.       

       Cohen, who represented Hayes’ area of Memphis, said the city should celebrate Hayes, an architect of the Memphis sound, as it celebrates Elvis Presley. “He is a world person who the world will miss,” Cohen said.      

       Monday’s four-hour service at Hope Presbyterian Church featured music, speakers and video clips. It began with a drum march through the sanctuary and a video clip of Hayes and Jackson on stage together at a 1972 concert in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Memorialized in the documentary film “Wattstax,” Jackson pulled off Hayes’ cap to reveal his signature shaved head, then Hayes slipped off his robe to show his red spandex paints and chain vest.      

       “He was a lovely man, always involved with causes,” Jackson told the AP before the service. “Literacy, civil rights. He was always there, and that’s why we’re all here for him.”      

       “Isaac came from our culture. He emanated our culture. That’s why he never lost his authenticity, never lost his conviction,” Sharpton told the crowd. “There is a difference between authentic and fabricated.”      

       Also speaking during Monday’s service were fellow Scientologists Anne Archer and Kelly Preston.      

       Rap veteran Doug E. Fresh, also in attendance, said outside the church that Hayes’ music directly influenced rap and hip-hop. “Hip-hop wouldn’t be what it is without Isaac Hayes,” he said.      

       Hayes died Aug. 10 after he was found unconscious at his Memphis residence. No autopsy was performed, but paperwork filed by Hayes’ family doctor, David Kraus, lists the cause of death as a stroke.

Jesse Jackson Introduces Isaac Hayes in the 1973 Documentary “Wattstax”