Black History Month: Phyllis Hyman ( July 6, 1949 to June 30, 1995)


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.




One Response

  1. Sophia
    | Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing your article on Phyllis Hyman in honor of black history month. Thanks for sharing your personal story of her as well. I found Phyllis Hyman’s music on YouTube in 2008. The first song I listened to of hers was “Loving You, Losing You.” I completely fell in love with her voice, as well as the song. At that time, I never heard a voice sound so angelic and so rich in sound. Then I found recorded interviews as well as audio from her radio interviews, and watched (and listened) to the woman of the voice. Her interviews gave some insight to how she thought, her opinions, and how she felt. I never had the Honor of meeting her. I like to think that, if I was born earlier (I was born in 1985) I would’ve been able to see her sing in person. Maybe I would’ve met her, in attending some of her many concerts.. it’s just thoughts and guessing. I was sad to learn of her end. I am glad that her work is left behind, which shows how phenomenal her artistry was and remains.***** Rest In Power Phyllis Hyman.

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