Day 12, Black History Month:
Phyllis Hyman – July 6, 1949 to June 30, 1995
The many of us who were privileged to see Phyllis, the beautiful, stylish, humorous, mournful, playful, sultry singer, will always feel cheated out of the years we thought we’d have to appreciate this potential superstar. Whenever I listen to her recordings, I shake my head and say “Phyllis, how could you do that to us?” (Phyllis committed suicide June 30, 1995.) For those of you who know her music—you understand. For those of you who seek out her music—you’ll understand. Check out her videos on YouTube.
I often went to see Phyllis perform at Mikell’s. I also saw her a time or two at concerts in Central Park. For a couple of years, Phyllis was the headliner at the Jackie Robinson Foundation Charity Fundraiser. The last time I saw Phyllis, she was singing Jazz with a trio at the Blue Note Jazz Club. At the time, I thought that was not her forte. Phyllis Hyman was an R&B soulful heart-renderer.
The day the article in Routes was published, Phyllis and her husband Larry called to thank me and Amadeo Richardson. She was bubbly and happy—she sounded like a little girl who had been given a wonderful present. I was happy, too, to be called by Phyllis Hyman.
For those of you who are curious why the mailing label was not removed. I am deeply grateful to the Schomburg Library for allowing me to reproduce copies of the magazine. Most of the published issues I don’t have, but they are available at The Schomburg Library Archives.