Isaac Hayes: Black Moses Gives Back

Isaac Hayes: Black Moses Gives Back is an engaging exhibition that showcases Hayes’s unique dashikis collection and his humanitarian work in Ghana.

Black Moses Gives Back is a fun and colorful exhibit and will introduce a side of Isaac Hayes that many may not be familiar with. Beyond writing hit songs for Stax artists and becoming a star in his own right, Hayes also became known for his interest in black pride and Afrocentrism. In addition to displaying the African clothing worn by Hayes, this exhibit will highlight Hayes’s philanthropic efforts in the African nation of Ghana and his hometown of Memphis.

With his success writing the musical score for Shaft in 1971 and becoming the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Song, Hayes used his fame to advocate for African American civil rights and the need to celebrate black culture.  These positions eventually led him to the West African nation of Ghana, where he was made an honorary king in the Ada region and eventually started a school.  Hayes also developed an extensive collection of dashikis, a traditional West African garment.

“It is a fitting moment for the opening of this exhibit as this year’s International Memphis in May Festival is honoring Ghana,” says Raka Nandi, Director of Exhibits and Collections for MoSH. “Black Moses Gives Back will highlight the culture of Ghana and its people, as well as an important chapter in the life of one of Memphis’s most prominent citizens. We are excited for our visitors to learn more about what Isaac Hayes meant to Memphis and the world.”

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