Never Forgotten: Phyllis Hyman ~ The Goddess


Since 1995 for me, the period between June 30th and July 6th has been a period where I’ve struggled with overwhelming sadness and had difficulty listening to the music of Phyllis Hyman without remembering that her music is what was left behind for the world to cherish.

Phyllis was always larger than life to me: her beauty, her height, her statuesque figure, her large booming voice and the attentiveness that her presence commanded! The term, Goddess is what I use when I make reference to her. She appeared to have everything I could ever want — and I thought that any man would only vie to be part of her world.

We all know the story, so there’s no need to rehash the details. She was tired of living, and she took matters into her own hands and boldly ended her torment on that last day of June, 1995. I can remember what I was doing, where I was at, and how my head snapped when I heard the preview of the late evening news on that dreaded day. ‘Tragic ending to the life of singer, Phyllis Hyman who was to appear at The Apollo … More at 11!’. They cut to a well-lighted outside shot of the infamous Apollo Theater.

There was no twitter or facebook in 1995 within a palm’s reach. I had to sit, tear-filled eyes WIDE opened, VCR remote in hand — mind racing with all of the “what the hell’s” in reference to my favorite female singer. A short while later after hearing the news, I went into a sullen funk. My brother scolded me and told me to snap out of it because Phyllis wasn’t a personal friend or family member. But, in so many ways she was just that…and actually so much more.

Her music made me rise to my feet behind my closed bedroom door, as I sang the words to ‘You Know How to Love Me’ in the mirror. She sang to me about an ‘Old Friend’ and definitely mimicked my feelings about something I truly hated: ‘Living All Alone’ — and even her B side songs that did not get the glory until she passed, made a great impact on my personal growth. In essence, she was the older sister I admired from afar.

Today, I cannot listen to her music without being overcome with a lump in my throat. I envision her seductive nature, with little attempt as she performed onstage as a Sophisticated Lady! She was captivating.

As we move toward June 6th ~ a day that Phyllis would have celebrated another year of life; I vow to fill my musical ear with her catalog of phenomenal gems. I will not tear up or become sad. I will remember her beautiful smile and how people seemed to be naturally drawn to her.

I often wonder, if Phyllis had any idea of all the love so many of us in this cruel world had for her, would it have made a difference in whether she lived or died? I doubt it … She decided for herself that she’d had enough!

This July 6th, I will remember… The Goddess.


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  1. I loved her too. Thank you for remembering The Goddess.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts, Corinthians ~ Phyllis was a tremendous blessing and I’m grateful for her legacy in song!!

  2. Hi Sis. Thanks for sharing this. This told me a lot more about your love of Phyllis’s music. I saw her perform in Detroit on her 40th birthday and was wowed by her. I had only been a moderate fan until that night and then started expanding my collection. I probably listen to her music more now than I ever did when she was still recording. Nice article.

    • Thanks for your comment, Chris. I never had an opportunity to meet her but did see her in Sophisticated Ladies and it was just spectacular for me. Her album ‘I Refuse to be Lonely’ told the story of her misery and pain — and I’ve lived that. I guess that’s why I can’t listen to it anymore ~ much love, Chris!

  3. Phyllis Hyman = Unique talent, pure class. Very sad day when Phyllis Hyman left this world, but her music breaths life.

    • Definitely and thank you for reading, as well as leaving a message about your love of Phyllis’ music!

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