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Isaac Hayes in 1973

Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. (1942-2008) was an American Grammy Award and Academy Award winning soul and funk singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger, and actor. Hayes was one of the main creative forces behind Southern soul music label Stax Records, for which he served as both an in-house songwriter/producer and later as its premier recording artist. In addition to his work in popular music, Hayes has also written scores for several motion pictures as well. His best known film score, for the 1971 blaxploitation film Shaft, earned Hayes an Academy Award for Best Original Song (the first Academy Award received by an African-American in a non-acting category) and two Grammy Awards. Hayes received a third Grammy for his 1971 album Black Moses. In 1992, Hayes was crowned an honorary king of Ghana's Ada district thanks to his humanitarian deeds. From 1997 to 2006, he provided the voice for "Chef", a singing ladies' man and elementary school cook, on the animated sitcom South Park. There are conflicting statements from Hayes' publicists and others as to why he left the show, and this controversy is satirized in the South Park episode, "The Return of Chef".