Skip to content

Exclusive: Isaac Hayes lll reacts to TV One’s ‘Unsung’ episode honoring his father

TV One’s award-winning music series “‘Unsung,” kicked off its seventh season on Wednesday, Jan. 23, honoring the musical genius of Issac Hayes. The show was solid, going into depth on Hayes’ rise from poverty in Tennessee, to becoming one of the most successful American songwriters, musicians and actors of his time.

The heartfelt episode was viewed by many close family and friends at bar ONE Tapas & Lounge in Atlanta, where rolling out took a few moments to catch up with one of his sons, Isaac Hayes lll, for his thoughts on the short documentary. Check out the interview below. –ruthie hawkins

What did you think of TV One’s special honoring your father?

I thought it was excellent. They brought life to a part of my father’s life, I’m sure that many wondered about. He was more than a musician, which they highlighted in a funny, warm and informative manner.

For those who are not too familiar with your father and his accomplishments, what are three things you would want them to know?

He did not go bankrupt by blowing his money. Stax Records owed my dad millions in royalties. After auditors investigated, they estimated $12-15 million was owed to my father. That’s like the RCA owing Usher $45 million by today’s standards. Isaac Hayes was 68 percent of Stax Records’ income, out of a roster of well over 20 other artists.

He was a classy, generous man. No drugs. No ‘hood foolery. He made a point to give back to the community and those in need.

He did not quit “South Park.” His management resigned on his behalf during the time he was recovering from a bad stroke. He loved that show and what it did for his thriving career.

“Unsung” touched on your father’s ties to Ghana and his humanitarian work there. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

He opened a school in Ghana, that focused on literacy, education, and AIDS awareness. My dad loved Africa and always [wanted] to do more in Ghana and other African countries.

Out of your father’s many accomplishments, what would you like to see him most remembered for?

The Oscar, of course, but also the fact that he was the first black artist to ever go platinum.

What was your favorite pastime with your dad?

Our talks about women, love, and relationships. He always gave me the best advice. Father-son advice is a big part of how men treat women. I will never forget the lessons he taught me.

As a producer and voice over talent yourself, how has your father career influenced yours?

He is the reason I became a producer. I was always interested in how things worked in-house.

Lastly, what is your favorite Isaac Hayes track?

Easy! An instrumental record from the track Truck Turner soundtrack, called “Now We’re One.” It’s romantic and jazzy. It shows my dad’s range as a composer that went well beyond just R&B soul music. It’s a timeless track to play for someone special, with a little wine and candlelight.