Written by | Ray Cornelius
I recently interviewed former “R&B Diva” star KeKe Wyatt during my radio show #UPFRONT and the singer and budding actress revealed to me that she would love to portray the late Phyllis Hyman in a biopic.
Hyman was one of the most iconic R&B voices of the late 70s and early 80s and had a string of hit songs including “You Know How to Love Me,” “Living All Alone,” “Don’t Want to Change the World,” “Living in Confusion,” and her rendition of the Chi-Lites classic, “Betcha by Golly Wow.”
She also appeared on Broadway in 1981’s “Sophisticated Ladies” and made a cameo in Spike Lee‘s iconic musical film, “School Daze.” In addition to her voice, Hyman was also known for her over-the-top fashions which included an array of bedazzled and feathered chapeaus and sparkling gowns with high shoulder pads and lots of cleavage.
“I think I would want to play Phyllis Hyman,” said Wyatt. “The only thing is I don’t like the ending part of her life and death. That is very uncomfortable. But as an artist and as an actress and as a person in the industry, I can see how you can do something like that. But you just got to be stronger. But I can see myself playing that part.”
Hyman committed suicide on June 30, 1995, just hours before she was to perform at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY. She would have turned 46-years-old the following week.
While there are no current film projects in the works, Sheryl Lee Ralph and the creators of “Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Story,” Anthony Wayne and Kendrell Bowman, did produce a recent off-Broadway production titled, “An Evening with Phyllis Hyman.” It featured “Mighty Real” actress Jacqueline B. Arnold and played to sold out shows earlier this year. Click here to see a snippet of Arnold’s performance and check out Hyman in “Sophisticated Ladies” below: