Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Heroes Of Blaxploitation: Isaac Hayes

Day Sixteen:

Who's the cat that won't cop out
When there's danger all about? 

Isaac Hayes!

Ya damn right.

The infamous Isaac Hayes (1942-2008) will forever be remembered as the man who brought the soul and beat to the seminal 1971 Blaxploitation classic, Shaft. I credit his score and music in that film as a turning point in the rhythms of Filmmaking of the time, serving as an inspiration for future Filmmakers and composers to come. Shaft in many ways changed the game, and Isaac Hayes led the way with his lyrics and groovy beats.

In addition to the music for Shaft, Hayes also contributed musically to the that film's sequel: Shaft's Big Score (1972) as well as the Blaxploitation films Black Heat (1973) Tough Guys (1974) and Truck Turner (1974).

Hayes also set his sights on acting, and because of his Shaft pedigree, landed leading roles in films such as: Three Tough Guys (AKA: Tough Guys) (1974) and the title character and hero in the totally awesome Truck Turner (1974).

Isaac also appeared in films like the Stefanie Powers Canadian sex comedy It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time (1975) and most memorably in John Carpenter's action epic Escape From New York (1981) as the 'Duke of New York'. Hayes steadily worked throughout his acting career and later appeared in the Blaxploitation spoofs and throwbacks I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) and the Television Movie Hammer, Slammer & Slade (1990) co-starring Black Action gods Jim Brown, Bernie Casey, Steve James and Ron O'neal.

Isaac Hayes found fame as the voice of 'chef' on South Park, occasionally playing into his Shaft and Blaxploitation past. He was a successful Actor, Academy Award winning Film Composer, Record Producer, Philanthropist, Musician and family man (he had 12 kids!) Hayes had a great life, but unfortunately it was cut short in 2008 when he suffered a stroke while working out on a treadmill. He was 65.

1 comment:

FilmFather said...

You are correct sir -- Truck Turner is totally awesome. That and Coffy are my favorite blaxploitation flicks ever.

Loved him in Sucka, but never saw Hammer, Slammer, and Slade. Any good?

Q: "What did I teach you?"
A: ???

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