Celebrities, friends and fans remember Isaac Hayes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

  ISAAC HAYES 1942-2008

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Flowers and Gifts: Family members ask that all memorials be made to the Stax Museum Children’s Music Academy, 926 McLemore, Memphis, TN 38106

Reported by Donna Davis and Ben Watson

Celebrities, friends and fans remember Isaac Hayes

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - One day after a private funeral for soul legend Isaac Hayes, celebrities, dignitaries and everyday people turned out Monday at Hope Presbyterian Church to remember the singer in grand style.

Hayes was eulogized as a citizen of the world - an international superstar who never forgot his humble West Tennessee roots.

"I'll never forget standing there on the first tee prior to teeing off, and he started kind of laughing inwardly," recalled actor Richard Roundtree. "I said, 'What's happening man?'  He said, 'Tree' - he called me tree - he said, 'I picked cotton here. When I was a boy.' That blew me away."

Monday's tribute included Grammy award winning musician Kirk Whalum, performers from Hayes' beloved Africa and music by Hayes himself.  Other artists recognized his influence on their work.

"In the world of hip hop, Isaac was one of the guys that was the original rappers," said rapper Doug E. Fresh. "He was the first rapper."

Dignitaries praised him as an innovator and pioneer, but it was the humanitarian that people close to him said he wanted the world to remember.  From his school in Ghana, to his work with Stax, he was a man who loved children and learning.

"I worked with him on a lot of human rights issues, and I found him an amazing man who would speak up for what was right," recalled actress Anne Archer.

Many said Hayes was a man whose passing changed those closest to him forever.

"There's a word called 'everything,' and that's what I miss about him," said close friend David Porter.  "I mean, we were linked together in such a way that words can't express what's inside of me. As I know, I've gotta go forward without an extended part of my life."

Celebrities weren't the only ones to attend the memorial service.  In fact, on the day people from around the world turned out to celebrate Isaac Hayes' life, all around Hope Presbyterian Church a genuine love for the man known as "Black Moses" could be felt.

"I think Isaac would have enjoyed to see and would live liked to know that these many people have enjoyed him, and are still enjoying him," fan Daryl Dockery said.

Anthony Bell, who delivered sandwiches to Hayes and others at Stax Studios, remembered the singer's generosity and kindness.

"The Soul Man had a soul appetite and a big one too! And, he was a good tipper," Bell said.

Others, like Mike Saddler of 100 Black Men, remembered Hayes devotion to the community.

"He worked extensively with us in our mentoring program in some of the schools," Saddler said.

But if there was one thing everyone talked about, it was the humbleness of a man who didn't have to be humble.

"He's a man who could walk with kings but at the same time hang out with the common people that was Isaac Hayes," said friend Anthony Elmore.

Friends and fans said you can expect the Isaac Hayes legacy to live on in Memphis.  In fact, there's already talk of re-naming Memphis International Airport in honor of the soul legend.

Click here to send an email to Donna Davis.
Click here to send an email to Ben Watson.

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