Thousands of fans, friends, and co-stars came in tribute to R&B and soul singer Issac Hayes at his service yesterday. Hayes died on August 10 when he was found unconscious at his Memphis home. Though there was no autopsy, paperwork filed by his attorney revealed that the cause of death was a stroke.
Those that attended the service included Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Kelly Preston, Anne Archer, and John Shaft himself Richard Roundtree.
“He was a lovely man, always involved with causes” Jackson said to the Associated Press before the service began. “Literacy, civil rights. He was always there, and that’s why we’re all here for him.
“Thank God for Issac living 65 years and making a difference in our lives.” [AP]
Hayes is remembered as the man responsible for the classic theme song of 1971’s Shaft, which went to number one, and won him a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and a Grammy. He was inducted for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002; some say Hayes was the pioneer behind disco and led the way for romantic music icons like Barry White, as well as being responsible for the birth of hip-hop.
“Hip-hop wouldn’t be what it is without Issac Hayes” said rapper-producer Doug E. Fresh [AP]
However, Sharpton said that Hayes remained humble and honest because he never forget his Southern roots.
“Issac came from our culture” he continued. “He emanated our culture. That’s why he never lost his authenticity, never lost his conviction. There is a difference between authentic and fabricated.” [AP]
The service was four hours of music, testmonies, and video clips in honor of Hayes. U.S. Representative Steve Cohen, who also represented Hayes’ area of Memphis, stated that the singer-songwriter should’ve been given the same amount of respect like the King, Elvis Presley: an architect of the Memphis sound.
“He is a world person who the world will miss” Cohen said. [AP]