Isaac ‘Black Moses’ Hayes : The passing of a panafrican star

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Isaac Hayes, was pronounced dead, Sunday, in Memphis, Tennessee, after paramedics tried to revive him to no avail. He had been found unconscious in his home by relatives.

Isaac Hayes was raised by his grandparents in rural Tennessee. An orphan from a poor sharecropper background, he taught himself to play musical instruments and he got himself a a job with Stax studios, in Memphis, where he composed and played for legendary black singers.

His big break came when his 4 track album ‘Hot Buttered Soul’, released in 1969, which in his own words “opened the door for black album market sales…”, went platinum. Hayes, originally tipped to play the lead role in Shaft, got an even bigger break when he ended up only composing the film’s score which won him both a Grammy and an Oscar.

Hayes was actively involved in the black emancipation movement of the 60’s and 70’s and contributed to the “blaxploitation” trend in black america with his ‘black moses’ album released in 1972, which won him another grammy.

As an actor, Isaac Hayes, played in a host of films, and as well as playing himself in the forthcoming “soul men” alongside Samuel Jackson, his voice in Comedy central’s cartoon series “South Park” as chef escalated his fame among young people. He terminated his contract with South Park when his beliefs in the Church of Scientology was ridiculed.

Upon discovering Ghana in 1992, Hayes, started encouraging African Americans to do the same. Nene Katey Ocansey became his title when he was made a traditional chief in 2005, in the same country.

According to official reports, no foul play is suspected in the death of Isaac ‘Black Moses’ Hayes. He was 65.

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