- She was bi. A tragic loss, Phyllis was so damn talented. She should have been much more famous than she was.
- I realized that this was posted well over a year ago, but since you had only one reply, I figured I'd add my own remark.
She was bi although she claimed not to be in the bio that was written about her (Strength of a Woman). She had a 7 yr on/off relationship with her personal assistant. That doesn't exactly sound 'straight' to me.
I think she liked women more than she let on.
That Youtube link you posted has always led me to suspect such especially her eye contact during it.
Another one that caught my interest was a video where she spoke briefly on the late model Naomi Sims. Check out the link and tell me it doesn't make you raise your eyebrows.
- She wasn't even closeted. A friend of mine was her girlfriend on and off for decades.
- Interesting....Wasn't closeted?
So what about all those mentions of boyfriends and fiancees that she spoke about in interviews and such?
Was the friend the personal assistant?
- Do you happen to know if she dated more than one woman by any chance and if she was bi or les?
- I don't remember my friend ever mentioning her ever having a sexual relationship with a man. Yes, there were many women. In any case, she was definitely out in her personal life and no she didn't hate Whitney she was pissed at Clive for tossing her away.
- No, my friend wasn't her assistant.
- Wowww. But her bio states that she had a few abortions and there are even pictures of a few of her boyfriends. So that throws me off a little. Well, someone not too long ago told me that people in the industry knew.
- Phyllis was with some Jamaican for over 10 years
- She was involved with some really shady people and it's possible although I'm not saying this is fact that she may have traded sex for both drugs and business opportunities/security, but regardless the woman was lesbian. I do know that certain people were not pleased with how out she was and that it resulted in a lot of, frankly, pretty dangerous drama, but little change in her behavior. She had a lot of problems which had nothing to do with her sexuality.
- That was her ex-hubby Larry Alexander.
- come to think of it her boyfriend seemed gay to me. Check it out on her Unsung
- Then based on all these accounts I've just read here, that bio about her is a load of BS. Well, at least in the relationship department.
I know one of her boyfriends was a cousin of saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, and another was an intern at a media company so I guess the business opportunity theory is possible.
- Yeah, I read that he was too. He kind of looked like it. To be honest, more of the guys she dated did, with the exception of the dentist.
You'll spot the personal assistant she dated off&on in the Unsung series as well. She even says her name at one point in one of the dressing room clips.
But, what kind of people were not pleased with her being out & what sort of drama? Do tell, this kinda stuff interests me.
- As far as the problems are concerned, I'm aware that she was bipolar. Mental issues ran in her family.
- r13, The friend I've mentioned had a lot of problems with a biography written about her and, if memory serves, was interviewed for it, but I don't know if it's the same one you've read. Are there more than one? I know that for some obvious reasons there was a lot of resistance to setting the record straight, so to speak.
r14, she was tangled up with the fucking mafia. And, yes, then there was the bipolar, the booze and the heroin, etc. What I've been told of her life sounds absolutely exhausting.
- The one I read was called Strength of a Woman by Jason A. Michael. Is there more than one, because I will gladly read it. The one I read felt like it left some things out, which you've pretty much confirmed.
I also heard that she had dated a pretty powerful guy in the drug business as well in the late 70s/early 80s.
- I don't know if there's another. I can ask my friend. She actually used to come to this site a long time ago, but doesn't anymore.
Dating seems like a misuse of the term.
I'll ask my friend if she's comfortable sharing any of her experiences with Phyl here or if she'd be ok with me posting some of the things she's told me.
- Yeah do that. It would be nice to hear what she has to say.
- I just shot an email off to her. Let you know. She's got a lot to tell, should she choose to.
- Strength of a Woman, although a good biography, and the only real biography of Phyllis, definitely had some missing parts to it. Almost as if the Author was writing as a fan instead of an author, not to mention the typos.
But the one thing that I did get from the book was that Phyllis did, as Phyllis choose she was in control of her destiny. And it may have been because of the stigma of being a lesbian and being African American during that time period that she considered herself to be Bi. Frankly their wasn't and still isn't many high profile black lesbian celebrities.
- [quote] Phyllis did, as Phyllis choose
[quote] Frankly their wasn't and still isn't
Is English your seventh language?
- Sounds a lot like Whitney Houston.
- Phyllis was a stunning woman with an amazing voice. One of the best R&B/Jazz voices ever.
- I'm still trying to wrap my head around this whole mafia thing. Everything else seems fairly plausible.
- Her record company had a mob lawyer working for them who was sort of in charge of her.
- Arista or Philly international?
- Which one? She was signed to a couple of record companies throughout her career.
And so many are claiming that she was bi- or even les- so where's the evidence/photos?
Heck, Whitney has some with the Robyn chick to make it seem almost credible.
- I don't know, my friend didn't say, but the stories I've been told about Phyl and the mob took place just outside of Philly and in Jersey.
- Did your friend give you the 'okay' to share some info?
- [R30] Around what year/time period was this? That will give a more clear dating.
- I told her this thread was here and her response was that Whitney's death seems to causing a lot of people to make comparisons. And she told me another snippet or two. But I get the sense that she's tired of rehashing The Story of My Relationship With Phyllis. I'll prod her a little more, but she knows this thread is here, if she wants to contribute. Also, I wouldn't feel particularly comfortable sharing most of what she's told me because the details would make her non-anonymous and I presume the things she's told me were in confidence despite her hardly being the only one aware or present for most of the situations.
- Again, she didn't say. These are things she tells me in conversation, not from a historical document. I'd guess mid to late 70s based on other things.
- Phyllis was a thrilling performer. I saw her live many times.
- The musical should be titled: They'll Never Break My Hyman.
- Eh, I'm not buying it. She lusted over men too much, at least that's how she portrayed it in interviews. Always bemoaning about not having a man in her life... that cover story in Jet during her Prime of My Life release when she spoke about the ex-fiancee she loved leaving her.
- Who actually read the book? Cause I thought it went into alot of detail about her lesbian relationships. Most of her relationships, in general. She verbally bitch slapped Naomi Campbell on one occasion.
- She acted desperate if you ask me.
What woman really cries about desiring to be in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex over and over if she isn't straight?
Unless that whole facade she put up was to hide the truth.
There was only one lesbian relationship mentioned in the book unless I somehow skipped a few pages somewhere in there.
I think she was straight and used ole girl as a back-up/playmate in-between her real relationships with guys.
Her slamming Naomi was first class. She deserved it.
- R39, I'm not sure specifically which man you're talking about, but my friend indicated Phyllis wanted songs from Nick Ashford.
- Peep her comments about adult star Vanessa Del Rio.
- What was her problem with Naomi?
- I meant to say...lesbian relationship, cause the book only does mention one. I think she was definitely bi and enjoyed getting her pussy eaten. There was one time where she was in the midst of one of her episodes and said to someone, "you don't eat pussy, do you?" That had me LOL!
- I read an account somewhere not to long ago by a female that she used to frequent girl clubs in Chicago and tried to ask the woman's friend out. Another one spoke about her showing up in the VIP area of ATL strip clubs from time-to-time as well as Chaka Khan.
- R44 Ha. Yeah. Hilarious. If we don't anything about her sexual preferences in terms of partners, we do know she was a fan of getting the carpet munched.
- I don't know any of Phyllis' music.
- Old Friend
- R2 I can see where you're coming from. I definitely picked up on it. Playing with her hair, her eyes.
Might've had a thing for Judith Jamison as well.
steals a glance a few times ex: 3:08 / 7:38-7:42
Funny how she went out of her way to include both her and Judy's name within her anecdote.
Basically the clip in general.
- Do blacks generally dislike their musical lesbians?
- I don't know if it's a matter of disliking so much as it is being uncomfortable with it.
Take Luther Vandross for instance. An impeccable talent and voice. Many fans are aware of his sexuality yet sweep it under the rug.
It's not really spoken about. A lot of African-Americans (not saying all) tend to not accept the LGBT way of life.
- I LOVE her and her voice. I so identify with her. As You Are and You Know How to Love Me, I listen to all the time. I also love the way she spoke, her words were so crisp.
- Oh and I believe she was bisexual or so I've heard (and figured out myself) and that's another thing I have in common. There haven't been so many Black women stars, of my time (in my late 20s now) to talk so openly about the things she's spoken about and her ideas about Black business/unity were on point.
- R53 How'd you come to that realization that she was?
Because I have in my own way as well and want to see if there's a common thread.
- [quote]Do blacks generally dislike their musical lesbians?
Why do you think King Latifah is still in the closet? Blacks are notorious for being homophobic. And I'm black, so I should know.
- One guy I corresponded with briefly (I think it might've been on Mingle City) states that his ex-girlfriend's sister dated her back in the 80s, yet died of breast cancer and Phyllis showed up to the funeral. However, he also claimed that this was the reason she killed herself which doesn't really add up. Last time I checked, she was battling issues with her bipolar and drug addiction and total loss of spirit as a whole.
However, I keep hearing folks say she killed herself because she was closeted. etc etc
- I think it had more to do with her illness.
- I agree with r39, there's this WNBA player, who is gay, gay, gay and has been photographed with girlfriends in intimate positions/poses but goes to the media (Black media, especially) and talks about her troubles (dynamics.. blah guys are intimidated, I have trouble letting go of control. blah) dating men. It's SO over the top but plays into the typical female-male drama that those types of magazines/publications love.
Hyman did appear really emotionally invested in her ex but I can't tell if she was into him (plausible) or she'd put a lot into the relationship and was genuinely disappointed, rather it was her preference or not.
- Is Chaka bi or lesbian?
- I always get a slightly butch vibe from her. In terms of character, not dress. Anyone else?
Like I could imagine her reeling in all sorts of broads half her age.
- R58 "I'm intimidating because of my height, I like to be in control. Guys have a fear of executive women." Check, check, check. Those are the same lines Phyllis regurgitated, almost to the point of ad nauseum.
Maybe she was more devastated by the relationship because of the input and vulnerability she opened herself up to. Who knows.
R59 If my understanding is correct, Chaka is bi and I think even admitted to it in an around-the-way type of manner in an article. I heard she used to have relations with a particular woman every time she stopped in her city on tours.
- R60 This is in reference to Phyllis btw, not Chaka. Although I'm sure she could as well.
- Is Hinton Battle gay? Can anyone confirm for me?
- Blah. Come on, everyone's anonymous on here. I know there's gotta be someone who has some tea to spill. Any former lovers, frequenters to clubs, connections want to share a few things?
You don't have to give full details, but a little something would be appreciated. Otherwise, this all seems futile and unbelievable.
- Chaka told Wendy Williams she was bi in an interview. It's on youtube.
- R33 Did Phyllis have a 'type' that she was attracted to?
-  I think for Phyllis it was more of a control thing, not a butch thing. She just wanted to be in control of her life, which was uncontrollable because of her disease. So by picking up younger men and women who had less money, and lacked direction, who could and would handle being verbally abused by PH.
- I have never heard that Chaka is bi.
- Phyllis Hyman was under contract with Arista Records but Clive Davis ignored in favor of his protege, Whitney Houston. So Hyman left.
Hyman was also known for her breast-revealing costumes, which made Jennifer Lopez seem demure.
- R33 Did your friend ever say that she felt slighted by Phyllis in any way? Such as feeling that she was more of a toy in between her failed (and trust me, there were many) relationships with men?
Could those numerous failed relationships with men have been an indication of her real orientation?
- R48, I prefer this version.
- Has anyone else ever heard that Chaka is bi?
- She was beautiful. I am linking to a stunning picture of her.
Her TVONE "Unsung" eppy made it seem as though she had something in her life she could not come to terms with. That something might have been her sexuality.
Shame she did not find the right situation to live in after having been formally diagnosed with Manic Depression.
Donny Hathaway had the same deal going on. He would be placed on meds to tour and such.
- [quote]Has anyone else ever heard that Chaka is bi?
I don't think she is. In interviews with gay publications she's never said anything about it, and in this article the interviewer asks her if she has a girl-crush and she says, "Not at the momemnt!", which makes me think she thought the question was silly.
- There was an article in VIBE magazine on Chaka back in the early nineties that talked about Natalie Cole and Chaka sharing a house in the early eighties. Both were at the heights of their drug abuse, but it was hinted that there might have been some lesbian action going on.
- Don't puncture her last name.
- R74 I agree with that aspect on her many relationships. There are a few individuals I have touched upon this about on Youtube who have suspected the same thing as you. I, myself, being one of them.
One that I spoke to stated that she felt that "Living In Confusion" always meant something more.
Sure, there are just some people that just have a case of bad luck with those of the opposite sex that they're in relationships with (or have their own problems that they aren't willing to fess up to and be realistic about and their pride gets in the way; but alas, that is an entirely different topic for discussion).
However, I think in Phyllis's case, it was something more. They even showed her off/on girlfriend on the show.
Check out 6:06-6:08 on this part
- Love me some Phyllis Hyman, she was criminally underrated and should have been a huge star. Unfortunately, she got screwed over by Clive Davis and Arista. They just didn't seem to know what to do with her. She had a lot of issues in her private life, naturally, but watching her invterviews on Youtube she was always very polished and together. What a shame she took her own life.
Oh, and I've heard lesbian/bi rumors for years. I have no idea if Phyllis was comfortable with her sexuality or not, but in any event there was no way a singer (particularly a singer with a majority black fan base) could have come out and still had a career. Things were a LOT different back then.
- R79 The homophobia in Black communities has lessened to some degree, but it is still very much evident.
Just today, my siblings and brother-in-law veered into the discussion of homosexuality (How? I don't know. I guess it just further proves that some 'straight" -or at least presumably as they self-identify- people just are wayyy too passionate about their homophobia..almost to the point that it causes me to raise my eyebrows at them and wander if they have latent same-sex desires). Nonetheless, I happen to be of an LGBT orientation, which is unbeknownst to them. So as they yelled passionately about gays and lesbians not being natural, disgusting, and not fit to be parents, I just sat there silently like "Things will never change."
- r78, how do you know that's her on/off girlfriend?
- R81 Her bio entitled Strength of A Woman spoke about her 7-year relationship with a woman named Martha David. There's also a picture of her inside the book. On Facebook, you can see pictures of them together on one of Phyllis's former staff member's account. Furthermore, within that clip that I mentioned she says her name.
There's also a picture of them together at around 1:30 in part 6.
- Phyllis did have a certain butch quality to her.
- Thanks 82.
- After viewing the Unsung of Phyllis Hyman, I'm starting to think Clive Davis is a bad dude!
I has a history of wanting black female singers to go "pop", whether they want to or not. He didn't want Phyllis to do a Broadway play "Sophisticated Ladies"...with really no explanation.
He forced Whitney Houston on toor in 2009-2010 when God knows she needed voice coaching and/or cord surgery...WTF?
I hope Clive does not get his grubby hands on Bobbie Kristina!
- R83 Ah. Okay so someone else notices it too.
I wouldn't say that she had a completely butch quality in the usual sense that we're used to seeing, but I think she was sort of androgynous with her mentality. She had assertiveness and she did even agree that she liked to be the dominant one in relationships. Yet, at the same time, she also exuded femininity.
- Phyllis had so many great songs it's hard to pick a favorite, but I've always liked "You Know How To Love Me," which should have been a HUGE hit but for whatever reasons it just didn't happen. Seriously, this was as good as anything Donna Summer ever did, and she had a ton of hits in this time period.
- R86 Maybe I should modify my statement and say that she had a vibe that meddled between an aggressive fem (AG) and a slight butch- or at least in terms of mentality. Not so much her physical attire.
- R87 Phyllis never liked that song. Said the beginning of it reminded her of a marching band. Funny thing is I agree. Oddly, it somehow worked in a weird way in the musical arrangement and is one of the reasons I like the song. LOL
- "You Know How To Love Me" was written and produced by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas. Their production on that song was slick. The voice of Phyllis Hyman was perfect for the song.
- Martha David looked hot!
- I live in Phialdelphia and heard about her affair with Julius Erving and allegedly, that screwed her up.
Didn't believe it at the time since I thought Dr. J was a "family man"
- Does anyone wonder why Judith Jamison, Sue Simmons, Lena Horne, Nell Carter, all remain/remained in the closet?
- R94 So, Judith is gay. I figured as much.
Seeing as though all those women you mentioned are of African descent (to a more or less degree) you can imagine the sort of stigmatization that would be placed on them.
Also Sue Simmons is a news anchor and Lena Horne was a prominent entertainer, so their environment has to be considered. I mean, look at Michael Jackson- he didn't even want to come out and say he had vitiligo, so imagine someone coming out disclosing sexual orientation.
R92 Yeah, I heard about that as well. But, it's his loss. He wasn't much of a looker anyway IMO. But, they also used that same story for the dentist (I think?) that she dated for some time.
- R91 You should see her with longer hair. It really brings out her features.
- I've never heard that Jamison is gay.
- R97, I wish I could find the article. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently had a feature -- I thought it was this year -- in the Sunday paper.
It said something to the effect of how protective she is of her private life, and I thought it mentioned gay rumors but it could have been my assumption based on the article.
- R97 I'll go be a sleuth for a moment and try to see what I can find.
All I know is that she was married to one of the Alvin Ailey dancers named Miguel Godreau in 1972. But, they divorced nine months later and he died from AIDS around '88.
I agree 98. She is very private about her personal affairs, and people like that who are secretive always draws suspicion from others.
- Was she still working with Clive Davis when she posed topless for Oui? It seems a strange choice for a singer who was in the midst of a Broadway hit...
- R100 Yeah, she was. And she had major repercussions to pay for doing it. Clive already didn't want her to do Sophisticated Ladies, but she went ahead with it anyway.
- Wow, I had no idea about Phyllis's nude layout in Oui magazine. I'm surprised that a lady as classy as Phyllis would do that. The interview was great, though.
- Some of those Oui pics are awful. Perhaps she had drug debts to pay off.
- R98 I found an article on Judith discussing her autobiography. I don't know if this is what you were referring to.
"There's a certain mystique that you need to have about me," she says, her rich alto rumbling with a secretive chuckle. "And I think that a lot of things are nobody's business, when it comes right down to it."
Only fleeting reference is made to Jamison's nine-month marriage to fellow company member Miguel Godreau (she never remarried), to a six-month liaison with a Swedish man who was habitually unfaithful to her, and to a man who helped her through "some personal problems."
- R103 Drug debts, yeah maybe.
I agree that some weren't the most tasteful, but there were a few that weren't too bad like where she's wearing the red, loose garment.
Overall, it certainly wasn't the smartest move.
- Phyllis was talented, but was an absolute nightmare to work with. She had no sense of responsibility and no work ethic. While much of this can be attributed to her drug habit, it's no excuse for her attitude. Lot's of people tried to help her and she refused.
So, I'm suspicious of people who talk about her career and her great talent and how other people took advantage of her, promoted others over her. etc. There was only one saboteur to her career, and that was Phyllis herself.
Her actions had consequences, and she hurt many people around her. Others can guess at reasons, but I believe she simply didn't care. Not a nice person.
- I've heard that her manager was/is a sketchy lady. Didn't have her best interest in mind. I'm not sure how true this is.
But also consider the fact that Phyllis was bipolar so that can make things difficult as well.
- Can somebody tell whether the Batlle guy in the interview with Phyillis and Judith is gay?
- R108 I was wondering the same. He might be. I can't find anything about his relationships. He kind of gave me a slight vibe so I wouldn't be surprised if he was.
- Whats this about Phyllis and Dr. J having an affair?
Also Thank you OP for starting a thread dedicated to PH.
- R110 I've always wondered how credible that story was. Supposedly, she tried to commit suicide after word of her adulterous affair with Dr. J became public.
Her bio never mentioned this affair nor her suicide attempt due to it. If they did, it was indirect.
I'm going to see what else I can find.
- Phyllis was a very self-destructive woman. She nailed her audition for Shug in "The Color Purple" but started acting up and Margaret Avery ended up getting the part.
- R112 Yep. All those missed opportunities all because of her fear. It's too bad, but she left behind a great musical catalog.
- Phyllis having an episode?
- Acting up how?
- Throwing tantrums, cussing folks out, drinking heavily. Phyllis if she felt out of control would take control anyway she possibly could.
- look like near the end Phyllis wanted the bass player to give her some dick... she was in his face. Seems pretty straight to me
- R117 haha Nah, I think that was more so just jammin'.
You should check out Part 2 of an interview posted by that same uploader. Looked like she wanted some Naomi.
- Here's a picture of Erving and Phyllis's former bass player from his Myspace.
I guess it's possible they were dealing for a moment.
Was it around '87 that she had an affair with him? Anyone know?
- Ok something isn't adding up.
Now from another source discussing Phyllis & Dr. J's relations, the story is a little different. Instead of claims that they were dealing when he was already married, it is stated that they were dealing BEFORE he married his wife, Turquoise. That would make it around or prior to 1972. In '72, Phyllis was in Pittsburgh and Erving was based in Atlanta, signed to the Hawks.
"She used to date Dr. J (Julius Erving). She was madly in love with him, but then he broke her heart by marrying Turquoise. She believed he was going to marry her. They said after that she was never right in the head."
The author of her bio did have to omit roughly 100 pages so I guess it's possible, but doesn't seem likely.
- Interesting thread.
Who was she? Seriously. Never heard of her until now.
Oh wait...this is DL, home of the D-list gossip. Lol.
- Clearly [R121] Phyllis was important enough to warrant over a hundred posts. Just because you aren't cultured doesn't mean everyone else isn't either.
- Cosign 122
- r121 is a TROLL... don't feed the fat cunt
- Gonna Make Changes hands down showed that Phyllis had great songwriting potential. I wish she had wrote more of her own music.
- I think she co-wrote "Sunshine In My Life" with her ex, Larry, as well. Another great tune in my opinion.
- "Sunshine In My Life" must have been shortly before their divorce.
- I think it was written not too long before they separated. Their marriage was dissolved around '86.
- Sometimes I wonder what Phyllis's career would have been like if Buddah records hadn't sold her contract to Arista, and had sold her contract over to Motown instead.
- For whatever reason, I just don't feel that Motown would've worked out too well.
Bit I agree that her early recordings with Desert Moon and Buddha were magical. Just surreal.
I think PIR did an amazing job with her "Living All Alone" and "Prime Of My Life" projects.
- She was very tall & striking, saw her one afternoon at a "wrecka stow" in Times Square mid- 80s, she was browsing and the d.j. put one of her records on and she smiled and waved at him. She also was sitting in front of my friend Brian at the 1981 Tony Awards, maybe she was nommed for "Sophisticated Ladies", her bio is going for $400 used on Amazon! I also read someone's shopping a film project on her.
- Worked with Barry Manilow, recorded one of his songs, produced by Ron Dante, she did "Never Say Never Again" for the Bond film and called it her favorite recording, yet it wasn't used in the film for legal reasons.
- How would you happen to read more than one thing about her? Between that and being here, you clearly have far too much time on your hands.
- Sigh. I wonder what she's thinking right now in retrospect.
- R131 A film about her life would be great! She lived a life which was just made for a film.
I am linking to "It Don't Mean A Thing" I do not know if this is exactly from "Sophisticated Ladies" but it is really nice and Phyllis looks like a stone cold fox in it.
- I always say that Phyllis has made me actually enjoy and appreciate classic jazz numbers.
And look at her as she sings. Can you say gorgeous?
- R131 I sure hope that's true. A film on her is well overdue. I don't even do theaters anymore, but I'd be right there on its opening.
R133 I don't think those different stories are all from one person. At least, I hope not or like you said, someone has too much free time and/or an unhealthy obsession.
- I saw Hyman shopping in Harrod's in London. She was just stunning in person.
- This came up some years ago back when I was a member of Afropunk:
"the late Phyllis Hyman was without question in the fam.. a regular in the girl clubs in Chicago and tried to holla at a friend of mine."
MC lyte and Queen Latifah's names popped up in there (not surprisingly)
- Re: The Phyllis Hyman film, last I checked her former manager Glenda (sp?) Was looking or had recently found an actress/singer who could play PH on either stage or film. Has anyone heard of what happened to that proposed project?
- Hyman used to be a common family name. Never seen any more. I'm just sayin'....
- There was also supposed to be a Marvin Gaye film, a Paul Jabara stage show, a Janis Joplin biopic, these things constantly get put in turn around and sometimes never get made.
- Absolutely demented. Suicide before a performance was completely selfish and lazy, and the suicide note was abso-cunty. Plus any black woman buried from a Lutheran church, as she was, obviously had considerable baggage.
Who was she, again?
- R143 To be a person who supposedly isn't aware of who she was, it seems like you know enough about her to be knowledgeable of the circumstances surrounding her death.
Who are you again? Oh, that's right- a troll.
- I never liked her voice, too cabaret, not rock or gritty enough for my taste. She was very typical sounding, not unique enough. Not enough style, I can see why she never really made it big.
shit stirrer #3
- PH was a crazy drama queen with an exaggerated sense of her own importance. She should have dated Whitney. They'd have made a great couple.
- What happened at the concert? Were they told she passed? Was there an impromptu singing of her songs by the audience lit by cigarette lighters?
- I remember they announced it on Ch. 4 (NBC) on the 11 o'clock news, I was tuned in to watch SNL. I got on the phone to my friend who was a rabid fan. He was devastated.
- Would anyone know where I could find a recording of the radio ad she did for "Command Performance" hair salon.
- R149 Have no clue, but you should check out this Youtube channel (link provided below) that has a lot of videos of her.
- why didnt they just name her Phillis Vagine
- R97, Judith Jamison once lived with dancer Carmen DeLavalle in the 1960's.
- I LOVE STEELY DAN.
- R152 Really..where did you learn about this?
- please R162, for the love of God, learn the difference between plural and possessive.
- R152 I thought Carmen was married by that time?
Unless her husband basically said "All systems go" to a ménage à trois.
- An article showcasing Phyllis's tired sob story.
And for whatever reason, it's hard to take it seriously.
- They all wanted Hyman's hymen.
- Who exactly did Phyllis sound like? She had a unique voice. The one singer out today who sounds a tiny bit like her is Jazmine Sullivan.
- Speaking of Jazmine Sullivan, she kind of looks like her. Not to a very striking degree, but somewhat.
I get what you're saying though. She has the same "in the gut"/emotive quality to her voice.
- This belongs here, R154:
The source is Alvin Ailey's autobiography.
Ailey was a close friend of Carmen's from childhood, and wrote that she was living with Judith in 1965. He also mentiones her marriage to 7UP queen, Geoffrey Holder.
Carmen DeLavallade was also a Lena Horne 'protegy' in her youth.
- So basically what you're saying is that Carmen and her husband's marriage was a beard relationship.
- Carmen De Lavallade's husband was Geoffrey Holder, one of the biggest queens on Broadway. Nothing subtle about this bearding episode.
- Its very interesting to note as well Jazmine Sullivan's mother was a background singer for Philadelphia International the same label that Phyllis was signed to.
- Why, what?
- R164 Didn't know that. Thanks for the info.
- [R167] No problem. When Jazmine hit the scene their was some gossip about her perhaps being the daughter of Phyllis because of the talk of her being the daughter of a Philadelphia International singer. Jazmine had to clarify that her mother was indeed a background singer not a lead singer.
- Although she sings off of a a pre-recorded track. This interview is worth it as she sings the commercials she has made over the years.
- Thank you OP for creating a Phyllis Hyman thread.
- Yes, OP thanks.
Phyllis doesn't get the recognition that she deserves.
And what I find even stranger is that her sexuality is often brushed under the rug, so I definitely appreciated this thread. You made good points about her peculiarities in terms of relationships and I'm glad I'm not the only one who spotted them.
- Martha (too bad her face is basically cut off)
- Found this interesting.
Her and her designer Cassandra McShepard
- Here's a better one. She's the one on the farthest right with the short hair.
- Anyone know any dirt on the cast of "Sophisticated Ladies"?
- My dirt is that I missed Gregory Hines and had to see the show with his Queen For a Day brother, Maurice Hines.
- R176 LOL Sry about that.
I hate that the VHS/DVD release of it doesn't feature the original cast with Gregory and Judith. Fortunately, Phyllis remained. Otherwise, it would've been a waste of one's time.
- Whatever her sexual orientation may have been, Phyllis Hyman was a truly gifted and talented artist who never really received the true recognition that she so richly deserved. She was a tall, beautiful, and mezmerizing woman. Her private life, her sexual preference or her associations have nothing to do with the fact that she was a great talent. She left us too soon. If only she could have realized her true talent and beauty. I would rather focus on the beautiful soul that she was and pray that she is at peace with herself and singing God's praises from Heaven! RIP Sista!
- She had a friendly rivalry with Angela Bofill, but on the You Tube video I am linking to, they both apparently had a very good sense of humor about things.
- No Hymen, No Diamond.
- What's very interesting is that Phyllis had another assistant who is gay. The first person to find her in her room after her suicide was her assistant Lennice Malina. I did some research on the web and it turns out she is now married to her lesbian partner. While I have no idea if Phyllis was involved with Lennice at any point, this just adds to the speculation that Phyllis was at least bi, if not a lesbian.
- She also had a lesbian percussionist named Mayra Casales for some time during the early 80s who is also married to her partner and has a child.
As well as a short-term personal assistant in the later 80s named Genie Cooper who is also gay. Well, based on her Facebook at least.
Then, not-to-mention the one assistant that turned into her on/off girlfriend, Martha David. She started working for Phyllis around '87.
- Genie Cooper to the right
- Another one
- wow she had a lot of lesbians around her haha coincidence? I think not...
- R185 It could mean something, or it could mean nothing. Who knows?
But what I do know is that they sure look intimate in that last picture...
Plus, she was in the entertainment industry. So who ISN'T of a gay persuasion?
- I love that there is a Phyllis Hyman thread on DL. This is why I keep coming back here. She was an extraordinary talent who unfortunately got a raw deal for most of her career. If Clive Davis wasn't so preoccupied with grooming Whitney for stardom and paid more attention to Phyllis (who was the superior vocalist, IMHO) it would have made her life a lot easier and she would have better coped with things. Unfortunately, show business is often unfair to genuine talent.
- Genie's FB
(We've all done our little deed of sleuthing, right?)
One of her likes is Liberation In Truth Unity Fellowship Church...
- R188 I second that opinion. While I have nothing against Whitney - I actually enjoy her voice- I'd pick Phyllis any day. No contest.
Anyway, on the subject of Lennice Malina, I highly doubt that she was involved with her. I do perk up with curiosity regarding Genie though.
- I think Phyllis just came from the mindset that if I am with a man that means I am "straight" even though she had relationships with Martha.
- Phyllis may well have thought she was 'straight' but she definitely had a lot of women. You have to remember the time period we're talking about, though. This was all DECADES ago, and attitudes were different then. If Phyllis were a young woman today she would probably have a much healthier sense of her own sexuality.
- It's funny-Phyllis to me was like a fusion of Toni Braxton and Queen Latifah, both in her look and how she spoke. To me, it's like somone cut her in half to create those 2 women lol.
btw I saw in this thread that something happened with Phyllis and Naomi Campbell? lmao can someone please fill me in on what caused Phyllis to go off on her, and what she said to her?
- R192 Only one was confirmed in her bio. Not discrediting you of course, because it wouldn't be surprising to learn that she actually had more. Mind listing said persons?
R193 Basically, a man in Phyllis's entourage had held open a door for Naomi as Naomi and her entourage exited a restaurant. However, Naomi completely disregarded the guy and so Phyllis called her out on her rude act by telling her that she could have said thanks. True to her nature, Naomi gave attitude like an eye roll or something, and then proceeded to advance to her limo - or at least what she thought was her limo. Turns out that the limo was actually Phyllis's and Phyllis told her something along the lines of, "Keep movin' because the limo's mine, b___." And with that, Phyllis and her crew entered the restaurant.
- hahaha Phyllis was amazing. I wish more people would speak that way to horrible Naomi. Instead we have wimps like Tyra these days.
- Phyllis loved to be in control and be the boss. I can totally see her wearing the pants in relationships with other women.
- R196 Definitely. She was assertive. It would've been VERY interesting to see how she would pair with a masculine-of-center sort of woman. I wonder what her type was?
- Well from the pics of Martha I've seen, Phyllis wasn't into the butch type haha. It's veru fascinating to me-in her interviews she would always talk about being single and some of the men she dated while in reality she was really with Martha...Phyllis was a good liar for sure. It sounded real. I mean I'm sure she went on dates with men but...
- Oh yeah, when she was on Arsenio and talked about her blind date. All the while Martha was backstage and one of her previous exes, Danny Poole, was in the audience. Right next to her musical director. A mess.
- I loved her performance in the movie "School Daze." She sang that wonderful song called "Be One."
- WTF why was Danny Poole there? lol How weird that must have been to have him and Martha there and Phyllis was talking about this "young brother" lol.
I will always love her on-camera persona and her performances though. She's one of the few singers who can make me cry because you know she felt the pain in her songs. Check out the live performance of "Living All Alone" when she's wearing the red and black outfit, and also the sample performance of "I Refuse To Be Lonely". In both it looks like she's practically fighting back tears but she sounded amazing.
I'm also impressed that unlike Whitney, substance abuse didn't seem to affect Phyllis' voice. Over the years she smoked, was an alcoholic, did cocaine and took all kinds of pills but her voice was just the same from her first to last albums.
- I loved her music, but found her off when I'd see her in interviews and videos. I'm sure now that was in part to her illness. She may have been more talented than Whitney, but I understand why Whitney was a bigger star.
PS- thanks for posting OP, and bumper, lots of interesting info here.
- One of Phyllis's best songs is a collaboration she did with saxophonist Pharoah Sanders called "Love Is Here." If you're not familiar with it, it's well worth a listen. I just love this one.
- Phyllis always had mental health and drug/alcohol issues throughout her adult life, but her treatment at Arista seemed to be the catalyst that really sent her downhill. Not getting the attention and support Clive Davis promised her and then being let go from the label in the mid-80s really affected her. That's when the booze and drugs increased, and she gained a ton of weight. Phyllis was never the same after being dropped from Arista.
- The interesting thing is that Phyllis had 2 of her biggest hits after being dropped from Arista though. It's kind of like all that depression and loneliness created the artist and led to those types of songs. If she had been happy, I don't know if Phyllis would have been as interesting. It's not that I enjoyed the fact she was so unhappy, but it made for great music and set her apart from the other generic r&b singers.
- As You Are is my favorite Pharaoh Sanders collaboration. There's something so magical about that song.
R201 LOL There was a lot going on. You can actually see what I'm talking about in this clip.
- She should change her name to Vagina or Cunt
- LOL at that clip with Arsenio. I loved Phyllis in her interviews too-her personality always came through, even if she wasn't telling the truth about her personal life.
- In the book "Strength of a Woman",it says Phyllis 1 time sounded off on Paula Abdul,Jody Watley and Vanity, and was basically pissed they sold more records and did better on the charts than her even though she was the much better singer lol. She said Paula was a "big time joke" lmao
- LMAO does someone have the exact quotes to those?
- I wanted to get that book about her but on amazon it's way too expensive wtf lol
- R211 Well, it looks like today is your lucky day. Just came across an Ebay bid for the book starting very low.
If you can get it, it's definitely worth the read.
- To whoever posted the comment about Hyman having problems as a black woman because her funeral was held in a Lutheran Church? St. Peter's is the jazz church in NYC and a keystone and support for musical professionals of color in the NYC area.
- [quote]She may have been more talented than Whitney, but I understand why Whitney was a bigger star.
She was a far more versatile talent than Whitney. She could do Jazz, R&B, Easy Listening, and kicked ass on Broadway.
Outside of all that, they were both fierce ladies. Poor Angela Bofill is the one who got the short end of the stick if anything.
- Wow, that's definitely the truth. Angela had a solid conservatory training to back up her chops as a major jazz artist. (She had a series of strokes in her late 40's and only now is working again, in a limited tour in which she sits on stage and talks about her life while a younger woman sings her songs.)
- I am a Whitney fan, but no doubt I prefer Phyllis Hyman. Phyllis was not a puppet of the industry and that's mostly why she didn't achieve massive stardom. Everyone in the business knew of her, and a lot of fans knew of her, but Whitney basically said "how high?" when asked to jump, and Phyllis didn't.
I like Angela Bofill as well, and she also should have been a bigger star. Clive Davis didn't want to focus or promote 3 ladies at once. Angela never showed diva-like behavior, but she wanted to be a part of the creative process of her music. Clive Davis wanted to control every aspect of these ladies' careers, and only Whitney agreed to it.
- Whitney had a stronger voice than Phyllis (who was by no means weak), but Phyllis definitely emoted more in her music. You could FEEL her emotions in her songs while Whitney sounded great but I always felt a disconnect with her and her music.
- Totally agree R217.
- B. J. Crosby sang as well, if not better than them all . Sadly, like Angela, she suffered a stroke a few years back. Believe she still lives in New Orleans, where she reigns as Lady B.J.
- Whoa. The price on Amazon for the bio is now running for $300. That's craziness.
I'm glad I purchased it when I did.
- [R215] I think it should be noted that although Phyllis may have not trained at a conservatory, she did study music extensively while in High School and took quiet a bit of classes after she graduated to ensure that her sound was crafted.
- R221 Yep, she sure did. She studied music theory, I believe, at a college when she lived in Miami for some time.
- Can you believe she was named the same thing as a coochie?
- Thanks, Op! Phyllis Hyman was a beast in life!
- I actually hate Clive Davis right now because he shafted Phyllis Hyman to focus his time on developing Whitney Houston's career.
- If she was Madonna she'd be "Madge Vag"
- "Madge Vag"
- Clive Davis is the devil!
- I do wish that Phyllis Hyman was still here. I miss the type of singer she was. She was so bold with her singing that it was magical. No one ever sang the way Phylis Hyman did. There will never be another one like her.
- AMEN R230 AMEN. Just a lovely singer and interesting personality. You don't see much of that anymore.
- "You Know How To Love Me" is my jam. I love it and can hear it over and over again.
- Phyllis came up at a time when in order to be successful in the music business, you had to have real talent and the ability to sing live. No autotune or lip-synching or studio tricks. It was all about natural talent. A pity things have changed so much.
- R233 well Phyllis came up just before it. When she reached the peak of her fame in the middle 80s to early 90s though, image over talent was taking over. She was pissed that weak or non-singers like Madonna, Janet, Paula, Jody and others were outselling her and had smash hits. Phyllis preferred to do classy r&b songs but in the 80s pop and r&b started to veer towards gimmicks and aggressive sexuality.
- On her wedding night everyone came over to see if she was broken?
- R235 huh?
- R236 That person's just a troll looking for attention by using hackneyed, overused 'jokes' pertaining to Phyllis's last name.
- I loved in the mid 80s when Phyllis started wearing hats. She wore them regally. Queen Latifah totally copied her style a bit when she was a rapper in the late 80s early 90s...
- This has been a great thread! It's unfortunate that there can never be more than one. Something someone posted that is very profound is that Phyllis never lost her voice like Whitney. Maybe if Phyllis complied in the beginning she could have came out with material she was happy with later on. Who knows... One thing is for sure, she talked about men A LOT.
- She did talk about men a lot...to ad nauseum, which kind of raised my suspicion.
Along with just getting that 'vibe' from her as well.
- Bump because I am curious to a posters friend's stories about Phyllis. Or was it established that the friend would never divulge?
- I love Phyllis, so underrated, yet so talented.
- R241 That's what I want to know. Because if this "friend" of his/hers (not sure of the poster's gender) isn't Martha David as he/she stated she isn't, then that means Phyllis had more than one girlfriend. And that would make me VERY happy.
- It's after the rain...
- R244 ?
- will always love Phyllis for her talent, beauty and personality. Sure she had mental problems but she was 1 of my favorites for sure. Shoulda been a bigger star. Fuck you Clive Davis, radio DJs etc.
- What about Phylly's hyman? Does she not wash it properly?
- Her cover of "What You Won't Do For Love" is my favorite version of that song.
- Did she and Whitney have a fling? What about Phyllis and Patti Labelle?
- Phyllis was not a big Whitney fan, since Clive essentially replaced her with Whitney. Whitney was willing to be a robot who could be controlled while Phyllis was not. Phyllis wanted creative control and input.
Phyllis and Patti were great friends. There's even a clip on youtube of them joking around during 1 of Patti's interviews.
- [quote]Phyllis and Patti were great friends.
Were they friends or "friends"?
- R251 haha Nope, just pals. Isn't Patti gay too supposedly? Plus, I don't think Patti and Phyllis as 'friends' would even work. They seem to both have an assertive edge, which probably wouldn't mesh well. But, sometimes similar dispositions work. Even so, I just don't think there was anything more between the two than a simple friendship.
- I didn't know anything about Phyllis Hyman except that the song she sang "You know how to love me" was a beautiful song. She was an extraordinary songstress, vocalist and singer who was blossoming in the music world. I heard she committed suicide because her mother died and I'm not sure how true that is, but that could be one of the reasons why she decided to take her own life. Miss Hyman had a beautiful voice and her life ended too soon. I didn't know anything about her sexual orientation whether she was bisexual, lesbian, homosexual or heterosexual. She was truly a unique musical icon and extremely musically inclined. Unfortunately, Phyllis Hyman's death is a tremendous loss to the music world. She definitely will be enormously missed!
- I applaud Phyliss Hyman for the music she sung. She left a legacy for me to enjoy. I thank God for her talent. I believe she did not have the foundation she needed to overcome her demons. We all have demons hanging around we must find the balance in order to endure. I am sorry that she did not have the power to fight for life. One must realize we are bought with a price and we are not our own. We belong to the most high God.
- Phyllis was not a lesbian. Bi? Maybe, probably. She was not a lesbian. I know this.
- To many of the ignorant posters on here, there is a difference in hymen and Hyman. Hyman is a very common Jewish name and it was sold to the family to keep them from slavery. There is mention of this in the liner notes of Phyllis' posthumous album I Refuse To Be Lonely.
Don't get me started on a name like Lady Gaga or the other cracked-out trash being admired by gay men and their hags these days.
- I cannot find one video or article where Phyllis says she's dated or even been interested in a woman and in every interview she bemoans her failed relationships with men. Can someone direct me to where she actually admitted to being bi-sexual.
- If you all are free this Friday, tune in to my radio show for a tribute to her life! The one and only Phyllis Hyman!!!!!!
- R258 thanks for sharing. I just watched it now. Glad it was still on the site!
- love this pic of her
- It seems like after Phyllis' involvement with Clive Davis, her life took a spiral down. Crazy thing is... after Whitney Houston's dealing with Clive, her life spiraled down too. Both ladies had drug addictions they battled & female assistants/lovers. Too much of a coincidence if you ask me...
- Phyllis' family had a history of psychological issues and she was on medication after she started showing similar symptoms (bipolar disorder I believe). According to her sister on her Unsung episode, a combo of Phyllis' career not taking off the way she wanted, not being able to have/keep a lover, becoming addicted to cocaine and alcohol, and stopping her medication led her to go off the rails.
- If anything Phyllis' life was on an upswing after Clive Davis. She was now free to do what she wanted creativity wise and released her best selling album to date via P.I.R. Her happiness glowed both in her new distinctive look/style, personality, interviews and live performances.
Any similarity with Phyllis and Whitney's involvement with Clive Davis was his desire to create crossover pop sensations, which was his specialty, and that similarity ends right there. Whitney fell for it and Phyllis wasn't having it hence her disdain for songs such as Riding The Tiger ("nobody rides a damn tiger" she said). Although I liked that song (nobody on earth could have pulled it off like Phyllis), in hind site I understood where she was coming from. I'm sure she envisioned her later years performing in intimate jazz/blues clubs as she had throughout her career whether she recorded another album or not, and not starring in a reality TV show to make an extra buck or two. Angela Bofill was also subject to the Arista crossover scheme but took it in stride, went her own way too yet never succumbed to drug abuse.
Whatever problems Phyllis was having towards the end of her life, I believe financial problems were the final blow. I know this from at least a few comments she made to me personally. Additionally, supposedly her final note also included "and the IRS can kiss my ass".
- That's a big DUH, OP
- I've never even heard of her.
- R263 and the financial trouble was because she was an overspender who didn't sell as many records as she should have/needed to. She relied heavily on live performances to stay afloat.
While Phyllis had more creative freedom after Davis, she didn't have much commercial success during her entire career. She only had 1 #1 r&b song. Someone of her talent should have been far more successful.
By the end of her life, Phyllis had financial trouble, struggled with drug, alcohol and food addiction, obesity, loneliness, bipolar disorder and depression. She refused to get help for any of her issues, making everything worse.
- I don't understand why so many of you are frightened of Phyllis' lesbianism -- she was a lesbian and I was happy to have her on our team regardless of all of her other problems. In today's world, she'd be out and proud.
- Address that specifically to the black culture. Maybe Luther Vandross wouldn't have had to refer to "she" or "her" in all of his love songs and Donny Hathaway wouldn't have jumped.
I do respect Phyllis for stating "No, my voice was not honed in any church or gospel choir".
Phyllis was an "over spender"? Yes, she relied heavily on live shows as a source of income and told me she already got rid of her back-up singers and sax player because she couldn't afford them. What was she supposed to do next? Be dropped off at the venue in a cargo van and take the stage wrapped in a bed sheet? That would go over real well especially amongst her black audience. Although she graced the stage beautifully and got a standing ovation, I noticed her hair obviously hadn't been styled in quite a while after that show. That was a month before her death. She also ordered some French fries and warmed some white corn in the hotel room. Maybe TMI but I did not see any crab legs, filet mignon or drugs there.
- AND Phyllis "had no commercial success" on records because she didnt want to be a flavor-of-the-week disco singer and wasn't re-recording songs because they "sounded too black".
Take Angela Bofill as an example again. How do you go from signatures songs like Angel Of The Night, Under The Moon And Over The Sky, I Try or This Time I'll Be Sweeter to something like Too Tough? What I didn't have of Angela's on CD I recently transferred from vinyl to mp3. Look at her on the cover of that Teaser album vs the prior releases. They presented her like a teeny bopper and I wouldn't be surprised if she were wearing roller skates. That Arista stuff had no direction. What were they thinking? Phyllis saw through this, I'm quite sure. At least she wasn't found with her legs in the air in a bath tub with a wig on and "powdery residue" on the sink.