On this day in 2008, legendary African-American musician and actor, as well as Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Isaac Hayes, passed away.
Born August 20, 1942, in Covington, Tennessee, Hayes had a very successful musical career spanning well over 30 decades.
Haye’s unbreakable connection and bond with Africa and Ghana, in particular, started in 1991 when he visited the West African nation together with legendary African-American musician Barry White to shoot a video for their hit song “Dark and Lovely (you over there)”.
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Hayes returned the following year to tour the Elmina and Cape Coast Castles together with musician, actress and media personality Dionne Warwick. This visit was all sorts of emotional for him. In addition to connecting with and learning about his roots, he also found love. Hayes met his fourth wife, Adjowa with whom he had a son, Nana Kwodjo Hayes.
Hayes’ philanthropic work in Ghana is very commendable. Together with Princess Asie Ocansey of Ada, they set up the Nene Katey Ocansey I Learning and Technology (NekoTech) Center of Excellence in Ada.
In 1993, he helped bring the World Literacy Crusade, a non-profit literacy organization to Ghana. Another applaudable project of his that deserves mention was his HIV/AIDS campaign. According to GhanaWeb, “One of his important contributions was to the Save A Million Lives HIV/AIDS Project. Working with Princess Ocansey and US movie star Steven Seagal, he helped to mobilise over 21 US universities with medical schools to work alongside USA doctors to help the rural poor fight HIV/AIDS in a five-year project at NekoTech”.
For his remarkable humanitarian work, he was crowned Nkosuoehne (Chief for Development) of the Ada Traditional Area in Ghana in 1992. The royal name bestowed on him was Nene Katey Ocansey I.