Black Music Month: The Hawkins Family

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Walter Hawkins was the brother of Edwin Hawkins, Carol Hawkins, Feddie Hawkins, Daniel Hawkins (Marcia) and Lynette Hawkins-Stephens. Bishop Hawkins was married to Tramaine Hawkins. They had two children, a son Walter "Jamie" Hawkins, Jr., who is married to Myiia "Sunny" Davis-Hawkins, and a daughter Trystan Hawkins. Bishop Hawkins also had a granddaughter, Jahve Neru Deana Hawkins, and a grandson, Jamie Daniel Hawkins.

Bishop Hawkins started his career in one of his brother's chorales, the Northern California State Youth Choir of the Church of God in Christ. The choir recorded an album in 1968 as a local fundraiser. When a song from that album, "Oh Happy Day", became a crossover hit, Buddah Records purchased the master and released it as "the Edwin Hawkins Singers". This led to him accompanying his brother Edwin to establish the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

Walter Hawkins left the Edwin Hawkins Singers in the early 1970s to establish the Love Center Church in Oakland, California. He and his Love Center Choir had considerable success with theirLove Aliveseries of recordings, which sold well over a million copies from the 1970s through the 1990s.Love Alive IV, released in 1990, was No. 1 on theBillboardGospel Album charts, where it stayed for 33 weeks. In all, Walter Hawkins produced and/or collaborated on 116 hit songs which were listed on theBillboardGospel Music charts.

Walter Hawkins and his groups were frequent musical collaborators, and recorded with Van Morrison, Diahann Carroll, Sylvester, and Jeffrey Osborne, among many others.

One of those who regularly attended the Love Center church was Sylvester, who had been introduced to it in the early 1980s byJeanie Tracy.

On July 11, 2010, Walter Hawkins died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 61 in his house in Ripon, California. (Source: Wikipedia)

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