Monday, March 16, 2009
Isaac Hayes proved that snooty Oscar sometimes 'digs it'
In 1971, when "Shaft" was all the rage, Isaac Hayes' funky title tune won best song at the Oscars, shaking up the movie industry. Isaac Hayes' theme song to the hit detective flick was the "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" ("Hustle & Flow") of its day — in short, that kind of 'tude-heavy, soul-powered, hip urban tune you don't expect to win the top golden prize bestowed by the hoity-toity Hollywood crowd.
Hayes was only the third African American to take home an Academy Award — after Hattie McDaniel won the supporting actress race for "Gone With the Wind" in 1939 and Sidney Poitier prevailed in the best actor category for "Lilies of the Field" in 1963.
In 1971, America was still smarting from the racial flare-ups that left many cities in ashes a few years earlier. The film character Shaft might've seemed threatening because he sometimes talked like a thug. As a lyric to the song boasted: "They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother!" But, instead of shrinking from him, Oscar voters joined the chorus, shouting, "Then we can dig it!"
Posted by: Michael Olafson | August 11, 2008 at 02:55 PM
"We miss you Isaac...Thank you for leaving us your beautiful Music"... Mcluvin Baby!