Heal with music
Heal with laughter
Heal with nature
Heal with community
Heal with healthy foods
Heal your heart
It is the mission of The Donny Hathaway Legacy Project, Inc. (DHLP) to provide holistic mental and emotional health-related education, advocacy and essential resources that are culturally relevant and accessible to support creative artists, Black communities and young people.
September 2, 2023
September 21, 2023
October 4-22, 2023
From our founder
My name is Donnita Hathaway, and I am the youngest daughter of the legendary Donny Hathaway. My Dad was an amazing singer, composer, arranger and producer whose music has become a part of the foundation of American music. He influenced performers from Soul singers like Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse, Mariah Carey and Usher, to rapper Common, to one the greatest artist ever, Stevie Wonder He is perhaps best known for his duets with singer and fellow Howard University alum, Roberta Flack. Even if you never sought his music, it is almost 100% probable that you have felt his musical presence and interpretation, emulated by virtually every contemporary soul and R&B musician.
What most people who are familiar with my father don’t know is, he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic during the height of his career and on January 13, 1979 he died by suicide at the very young age of thirty-three. In my frustration of the lack of acknowledgement for the tremendous contributions that he made to the music industry along with continuing to see influential and young Black people die by suicide along with having my own personal and physical pain in my life become chronic, I had a light bulb moment. In discovering multiple holistic healing modalities including music, laughter and community which helped me grieve the loss of both of my parents before I turned twenty. Also after having chronic lower back pain from multiple accidents that continued to get worse, I was forced to stop and look at the root cause of my pain in order to properly heal. As a result, I adapted to clean eating, exercising, and having spiritual practice as a result of receiving these tools from trusted influential people.
David Silbersweig, MD, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Nikki Haddad, In responds to the Covid 19 pandemic says:
“We are all dealing with this very stressful and traumatizing situation, and music is universally accepted as something helpful during these periods,” says Haddad.
Silbersweig and Haddad are both musicians (he plays trombone, drums, and guitar, and she sings and plays guitar) with longstanding interests in how music excites the brain—and how it can be used to improve health.”
Life is hard! No one is exempted from experiencing heartbreak and trauma multiple times in their life.
In the case of Donny Hathaway, one of the greatest talents that ever lived, his gift or fame or influence was not enough to save him from an illness that was passed down to him. It wasn’t until he started experiencing his own heartbreak and trauma and adopting unhealthy habits that his behavior started to change.
There is no doubt that Donny Hathaway lives on through the music, but his legacy is bigger than that. It is the sum of his life which has yet to be truly celebrated in a way deserving of his contribution and influence. The Donny Hathaway Legacy Project (DHLP) is dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of musical pioneer and legend Donny Hathaway. DHLP seeks to do this through a series of symbolic, creative and institutional initiatives intended to highlight his story and his work, as well as through high-quality mental and emotional health and wellness programming that brings awareness and understanding, as well as connects communities to the necessary resources required. This programming is especially targeted towards minority communities and creatives and young people as each group suffers disproportionately from mental health issues. My father sang the beautiful anthem “Someday, we’ll all be free”. Let’s help to ensure that we help those that are in pain to be well. Join me in declaring that our “someday” is today!
Listen to Donny
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National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
US Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741