Bernie Mac was never so much Bernie Mac on television. TV wasn't ready for his genius. Because Bernie Mac was one thing that we have never heard, a brilliant and extraordinarily well-informed sports authority who cursed like a sailor. I've seen his brilliance twice, once in that form with Bryant Gumbel on his HBO show Real Sports and the other time in Spike Lee's film 'Get on the Bus'.
Get on the Bus was Bernie Mac's debut to a big audience, and he still had that raw edge of a black man not sufficiently appreciated. Ask me and I'll say the phrase 'grown ass man' started then and there with Bernie Mac. Bernie Mac was conservative. People tend to act as if they don't understand what black conservatives are like - as we remember Bernie Mac, keep that in mind.
Issac Hayes was a lyrical man in a big black man suit. Somehow he always seemed heavier to me than he actually was. He never managed to convert his intimidating largeness in the way James Brown (the sportscaster) or Geoffrey Holder did. So I am particularly aware of how he generated an elaborate sort of music on the edge of orchestral. His voice was uniquely earthy and passionate in a way so many of us wanted to be known in the 70s - Soulful with a capital S. But unlike a load of other singers, Hayes didn't spend a lot of time saying 'Huh!' like the chorus of Kool and the Gang's Jungle Boogie, so popular in those days.
All of these thoughts on Hayes are new for me and gotten in the past year. Some NPR show hipped me to him and I listened seriously for a short time. That's what I got. I'm sure we've lost all that and more.
As a side note, when I was in Cleveland a few short weeks ago, I had lunch in the Galleria and the jazzy joint there. One of the waitresses flirted with me saying that I reminded her of Issac Hayes, it was one of the few times in life I was too taken aback not to have a sweet rejoinder. I could only blush and smile. I think Issac would have wanted it that way.