Remembering, Missing Phyllis Hyman

Statuesque and magnificent, Phyllis Hyman visually represented the ideal of a modern-day goddess. Over six feet tall in heels and donning headgear reminiscent of the crowns worn by Egyptian royalty, Phyllis was a sight to behold. When she opened her mouth to sing, the image of divinity was further cinched. 

After the bounce

Whether you first heard of her, like I did, when listening to Norman Conners' "You Are My Starship" when I was in elementary school and a burgeoning music lover, or later, when she made a cameo in Spike Lee's movie School Daze, you could not help but be mesmerized with her rich, vibrant vocals magnified by a penetrating delivery. My list of Phyllis favorites spans the years--from "Betcha By Golly Wow" and "You Know How To Love Me" to "Living All Alone" and "Meet Me On The Moon." My love affair with her voice never faltered.

When I first heard of her passing 15 years ago yesterday, I was a recent college graduate with the hope of the world on my shoulders. I thought anything was possible. But not that. Not her death and the way she died. To learn that her death was owed to the feelings of lonliness and depression that had enveloped her was devastating to comprehend. Her death shattered my naivete in an instant and honed in the truth that those in the public eye are, above all, human beings. Human, and with feelings that ran painfully deep, Phyllis Hyman left our world physically, yet, her voice remains our treasured gift that will forever be remembered as legendary. 

I just wanted to take the time to say that I miss you, Phyllis.

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10 Responses

  1. *sigh*
    Every time I'm reminded of Ms Hyman, the words 'Be thankful for what you've got' ALWAYS pop in my head. She seemed to have so much but obviously, from where she was standing, she didn't have anything worth living for.

  2. Kind of pisses me off if I think about it too long...

  3. Phyllis Hyman, so under-appreciated and underrated. She stands in a class with greats such as Aretha, Gladys, Patti & Dionne.

  4. Avatar

    No one can love you more, is my FAVORITE by Phyllis. RIP

  5. I forgot how stunning this sista was..........RIP Ms. Hyman

  6. I know I'm about to get banned from Soulbounce for this but I've never actually heard a Phyllis Hyman record before. Of course I've heard of her before, but this is the first time I've heard one of her songs. And I must say that she had a wonderful voice.

  7. Eddie, don't feel bad, she isn't really on the mainstream radar, but that isn't bad. She has plenty of places to dive into. I got into her in early 2007 and have been a fan ever since. They just issued, for the first time, her "Goddess of Love" LP on CD. I recommend "You Know How to Love Me" as a good starting point outside of her best ofs and then just jump around. Enjoy her!-QH

  8. yeah she was troubled, you can look up some of her old interviews and tell something wasnt right with her spirit...

  9. For me, it was Ain't you had enuff love baby, I can't take it anymore, I found love, When you get right down to it.....the list of beauties that this woman sang is endless.

  10. Thank you so much for posting about one of my favorite vocalists (Abbey Lincoln is another 😉 ...I did an article for YSB back in the 90s after her death and always rep her in what I do. RIP Phyllis, I feel you and Minnie out there in the ethers~*
    Useful trivia: Phyllis & Frida Kahlo share a birth date along with travails...