Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Soul Fixin'

Never Can Say Goodbye The past weekend proved to be a difficult set of days for Black America. We loss two artistic geniuses, comedian and actor Bernie Mac took his last breath Saturday morning and Isaac Hayes, the father of 12 and the grandfather of 14, went on to glory Sunday morning. I'm sure his soul comrades, Sam Cooke, David Ruffin, Ray Charles, Donny Hathaway, James Brown --to name few, welcomed him with open arms. A homecoming celebration like no other. Even though the Memphis bred soul man created his own brand of soul music Isaac Hayes was more than just a soul singer, he was an enduring symbol of empowerment, he crystallized the strength and beauty of black manhood. Isaac Hayes fully embraced the beauty of his blackness as evident on many of his albums covers. He was black and proud. He may not have said it loud but it was written all over his face. The man known as Black Moses walked to sound of his own organ, he was bold, proud, confident, beautiful, cool, and possessed plenty of sex appeal.

As I sit here and reflect on the life and music of Isaac Hayes, I realize so many soul singers have left us and so few are still around. I dread the day when Aretha, Gladys, Stevie, Al Green, Mavis Staples, Patti LaBelle, Sam Moore, Smokey Robinson and others join God's choir. These are our heroes and sheroes, the voices of a people, they translated our trials and tribulations, joy and pain, and heartache and sorrow into music. Soul music is the soundtrack of our lives, it helped us get through tryin' times and helped us celebrate the good times. Curtis Mayfield once proudly proclaimed "you know to talk about the 60's almost brings tears to my eyes. What we did. What we all did. We changed the world- me,us Smokey, Jerry Butler, The Temptations, Aretha, Otis, Gladys Knight, James Brown. We really did. Barriers broke down for us and for all black musicians afterwards. I mean, to have lived through that and to have been apart of that, is more than anyone can ask." We are deeply indebted to the pioneering artists of soul music, men and women who were agents of social change. Today, we pay homage to Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. Till we meet again...never can say goodbye.