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Isaac Hayes

Musician, actor, and entertainer, Isaac Hayes, was born Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr., on August 20, 1942, in Covington, Tennessee. When his parents died at an early age, Hayes went to live with his grandparents in Memphis. Hayes was a good student in high school, wanting to be a doctor; in the ninth grade, however, he dropped out to earn money. Hayes later enrolled in a night school from which he earned his diploma in 1962.

By the time Hayes was in his teens, he was adept at playing the piano, organ, and saxophone, as well as having spent years singing in a church choir. When he dropped out of school, Hayes immediately began performing with local R&B groups in Memphis, earning a solid reputation as a musician. Hayes recorded his first album in 1962, and by 1964, he was playing with the house band at Stax Records, one of the premier soul music recording labels in the South. After writing a number of hits in collaboration with David Porter for the group Sam & Dave, Hayes released his first solo album, Presenting Isaac Hayes, in 1967. Two years later, his breakthrough album, Hot Buttered Soul was released and Hayes became a star.

After producing a soundtrack to an experimental film by author Norman Mailer, Hayes was approached to write the musical score of Shaft in 1971; he would become the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Song. Hayes became involved in acting in the mid-1970s with an Italian film titled Uomini Duri, released in America as Three Tough Guys, and the title role in the film Truck Turner in 1974. Hayes returned to acting in 1981 with a role in Escape from New York and 1988’s I’m Gonna Git You Sucka!. The 1990s and beyond saw a resurgence of Hayes in films, playing roles in The Blues Brothers 2000, Dr. Doolitte, and a remake of Shaft; he also became the voice of “Chef” in the animated television series South Park.

Hayes had a radio program on KISS-FM and was the spokesman for the World Literacy Crusade, a part of the Scientology movement. Hayes also established the Isaac Hayes Foundation to partner with nonprofit organizations to promote human rights. While in Ada, Ghana, in 1995, as a part of the World Literacy Crusade, Hayes was crowned as a king, adopting the name of Nene Katey Ocansey I. Hayes also opened up a chain of restaurants across the country. In 2002, Hayes was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Isaac Hayes passed away on August 10, 2008, at the age of sixty-five.

Hayes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 25, 2003.

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Film actor, musician and singer, and film score composer Isaac Hayes (1942 - 2008 ) was the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Song. In addition to his musical activities, Hayes was also a prolific actor and literacy advocate.

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<a href="">Tape: 1 Slating of Isaac Hayes interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Isaac Hayes's favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Isaac Hayes traces his family's roots in Africa</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Isaac Hayes discusses his family's southern heritage</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Isaac Hayes shares family stories from the U.S. Civil War</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Isaac Hayes details his mother's family history</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Isaac Hayes discusses his mother's mental illness and institutionalization</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Isaac Hayes describes his reunion with his father</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Isaac Hayes describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Covington, Tennessee</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Isaac Hayes recalls his early affinity for music</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Isaac Hayes discusses his early school life</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Isaac Hayes explains his decision to stay in school</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Isaac Hayes changes career plans after a successful talent show</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Isaac Hayes describes his musical career in junior high and high school</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Isaac Hayes reveals the extent of his family's poverty</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Isaac Hayes describes his early jobs</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Isaac Hayes remembers his mentor, a white employer</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Isaac Hayes chooses not to puruse criminal activities as a child</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Isaac Hayes explains how candy bars prevented him from receiving his high school diploma</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Isaac Hayes remembers his early musical gigs</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Isaac Hayes shares a humorous anecdote about his piano playing ability</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Isaac Hayes details his success as a songwriter</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Isaac Hayes describes the beginnings of his career as a vocalist</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Isaac Hayes explains his signature look</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Isaac Hayes describes the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Isaac Hayes reminisces about the creation of his breakthrough album, 'Hot Buttered Soul'</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Isaac Hayes discusses the role of fashion in performance</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Isaac Hayes explains his moniker 'Black Moses'</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Isaac Hayes lists some of his discography</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Isaac Hayes considers the need for cooperation across generations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Isaac Hayes emphasizes African American economic cooperation</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Isaac Hayes stresses culturally inclusive education</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Isaac Hayes describes being honored as a Ghanaian king</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Isaac Hayes contributes to development efforts in Africa</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Isaac Hayes describes the advantages of Scientology</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Isaac Hayes details his role in the film 'Shaft'</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Isaac Hayes recalls composing the memorable score for 'Shaft'</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes reflects on his Academy Award for the score of 'Shaft'</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes discusses his many film roles</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes shares several of his favorite television roles</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes is forced to file for bankruptcy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes describes his current business endeavors</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes discusses his healthy lifestyle</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes names his favorite musicians</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes remembers fellow musician Barry White</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes considers the black community's needs</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes considers his legacy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes describes his future plans</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes gives his philosophy on life's trials</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Isaac Hayes describes his contribution to the world</a>