Estimates Screaminjay Hawkinsoffspring Revised Upward
The late Screamin' Jay Hawkins may have been best known as the wild man of early rock and R&B, but his notoriety has since shifted to the realm of sexual activity, which new information suggests was even more extensive than previously thought.
Hawkins originally estimated he fathered up to 57 children. But now, recently discovered video footage of the man born Jalacy J. Hawkins has him estimating his progeny at 75, and maybe more.
Maral Nigolian, who befriended Hawkins shortly before the singer's death at age 70 on Feb. 12 of last year, has spearheaded a Web site, www.jayskids.com, to help find Hawkins' missing spawn.
'It was his last request,' said filmmaker/writer Maral Nigolian, who is working on a biography of the performer known primarily for the song 'I Put a Spell on You' ( RealAudio excerpt ).
'He wanted his children all under one roof and felt remorseful about not doing so,' Nigolian added.
The site asks 'if you believe you have had a child by Screamin' Jay Hawkins or if you believe you are a child of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' to fill out a submission form and contact your estranged family. There is also a flier you can print to stick up on the nearest telephone pole or supermarket bulletin board.
Hawkins died in Paris, at the age of 70, where he'd been living for the last few years, but spent a great deal of his life touring, especially in Atlantic City, N.J., Los Angeles, Hawaii, Cleveland and Europe. 'It's not going to be easy,' she added.
'In his travels, Jay had lots of relationships,' said Lon Nigolian, Maral's husband. 'And a lot of one-night stands.'
Hawkins was married six times and fathered children with every marriage. Then there are all the girlfriends.
'We've gotten all sorts of submissions,' Maral said. 'Some that are just funny very funny from fans and such, and some that are very heartfelt, people searching for their father.'
In the course of their conversations before his death, Maral had compiled a list of many of Hawkins' girlfriends and they've been using that as the start of the verification process, then looking at birth certificates and other information.
Plans for an upcoming 'family gathering' for the estranged children are in the works. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland has agreed to host the event in early November.
Of all the submissions received, 33 children have been identified thus far and several will meet for the first time in Chicago on Aug. 7 to discuss details of the planned gathering with Nigolian.
'Jay had his own way with everything,' Maral noted. 'It was part of his persona a wild and eccentric persona both onstage and in his life.'
The video clip interview with Hawkins will be available for viewing on the Web site in the near future.