Donny Hathaway: We Didn’t Want the Music to End

On the 35th anniversary of his untimely death, a look at this brilliant musician’s legacy of uplifting and encouraging music.

(Continued from Page 1)

He wanted to encourage black people through his music, and some people tried to encourage him. Edward Howard wrote the lyrics to Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free,” he says, as a message to Hathaway himself. Hathaway was then plagued by schizophrenia, and the song was all his friend could give him: “Hang on to the world as it spins around, just don’t let the spin get you down.” He wasn’t going to make it. But he held on long enough to turn a song meant for him into a song for everyone else.

Emily J. Lordi is an assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the author of the new book Black Resonance: Iconic Women Singers and African American Literature. Her music reviews have appeared in NewBlackMan (in Exile), the Feminist Wire and the New Inquiry. She is working on a book about soul.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.