Current and future generations have missed so much of Phyllis Hyman’s legacy as the consummate performer and one of the music business’s most respected professionals. How she lived and died has much to teach us about mentoring black female genius, respecting black female beauty and properly compensating black women’s talents. However, her work ethic and career life hovers in archival atmosphere as a source of priceless lessons as well.
This 1988 oral history, recorded at the height of her popularity and fame, covers her intense discipline and commitment to development as an artist. It is a must for anybody working in arts and entertainment today. The interviewer also brings out the very well-known and admired fun, humorous, and witty sides of Phyllis Hyman- in stark contrast to the mood of music she recorded and even further signs of her complexity and gifts to us. Enjoy!
Read my story “What Billie and Phyllis Sang About”, about a determined black woman’s will to survive alone in Harlem, in the new issue of Atticus Review. My favorite Billie Holiday and Phyllis Hyman music is on the story’s companion soundtrack Here. #BillieandPhyllis