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Isaac Hayes is ‘Unsung’

  • Written by Nyah Nile

UnsungHayes-600A cold winter night in January, check!

One mid-calf long, burgundy, vintage-leather trench coat, check!

Two VIP, TV One "Unsung" Isaac Hayes private screening passes, check!

Viewing the private screening Tuesday night at the Stax Museum where it all began, priceless!

The only thing missing was the red carpet and paparazzi following me.

The Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission hosted the premier event. All in all, it was one of those times that truly made you proud to be from Memphis.

Nyah-V-Hayes-600Maybe it was the positive energy that you feel the moment the neon lights from the Stax Museum sign sparkle in your eye. Maybe it's the soul music you hear drifting from the outdoor speakers when you get out of your car. Maybe it is the "everything is going to be alright feeling" you get as the painted records on the ground guide your steps to the double-entrance doors.

Entering the building I had no idea it was going to be so packed. All the who's who of Memphis seemed to be out in full support of the late great Isaac Hayes. Two viewings and both were filled to capacity.

At the center of the energy was Hayes' daughter, Veronica Hayes, who told The New Tri-State Defender that she was excited, very emotional and satisfied that the "Unsung" segment had turned out consistent with her dad's image.

"At first when we were contacted I was like, 'Oh my God, my father is not unsung,'" Hayes said.

"But when you think about it, a lot of this generation can only identify with 'South Park.' So by them bringing life back to him again the younger kids can see what he has done in the past and how much the artists today still sample from his music."

In attendance was the legend, James Alexander of the Bar-Kays, sitting front and center to see his dear friend. The Bar-Kays were featured back in 2011 on Season 4 of TV One's "Unsung."

"They did a good job on us and they did a superior job on Black Moses Isaac Hayes," said Alexander.

"The most memorable moment I had with Isaac Hayes was probably when I was with him when he learned to drive. It was right here in front of McLemore Avenue."

While waiting to see the second viewing, I mixed and mingled, running into more of Hayes' family. Also in attendance were Larry Dodson Jr., Ruby Wilson, Kurt Clayton, Johnnie Walker, Rome Withers, Eddie Harrison, Drummer Willie Hall and Preston Shannon, just to name a few.

"This was a great entertainment hour. I really loved it," said Wilson, aka "The Queen of Beale Street." He was a great man....I came to Memphis because of him 40 years ago. I was looking for three people – Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas and Carla Thomas and I found all three!"

Johnnie Walker of the Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission said the Stax Museum was the perfect venue for the event.

" Memphis has a rich history and an incredible legacy. Look at what the president was dancing to, 'Let's Stay Together,' OK. Come on, the Bar-Kays just performed for Mr. President....I am just excited about the new Memphis and the new music."

(The TV One "Unsung" with Isaac Hayes premiered Wednesday. Check your local cable listings for additional showings.)

(For questions, or if you would like Nyah Nile at your next big event, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)


+1 #1 Tosh 2013-01-24 15:32
Awesome event and tribute. I was honored to be Mr. Hayes guest at the STAX grand opening and to be in the mix for this UNSUNG tribute at the same place was truly dear and special. Thanks Mr. Hayes for your support in my art career!

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