Only days ago, we put out word of a GoFundMe campaign to help defray the medical expenses of local visionary Omar Higgins. With heavy hearts, we now must report that Omar has left us. As the family writes:
Dearest Family and Friends,
It saddens us to announce that Omar passed away this past Thursday. Omar fought so hard and never gave up hope as so many friends and family prayed and came to visit him almost every day he was in the hospital. Omar loved so many people from all walks of life and he made sure to always help anyone that came to him in need of advice and would do anything that would bring peace. Omar wanted to continue to do what he loved and was healing others through music and conversation. If you or anyone you care about ever needs help, please fight with every muscle in your body to help them with every ounce of love you can summon.
We love all of you so much as does Omar – let us continue to keep his memory alive and cemented in the history books of Memphis Music.
David, Joseph and the entire Higgins Family
*** Funeral arrangements are being made at this time and we will post details soon. ***
Please note the fundraiser above, and remember that, unfortunately, the medical costs are not going anywhere. You can also express your condolences in the comments there, or visit his Facebook page. Social media has been filled with beautiful tributes from friends and fans who are confronting the tragic news; all are focusing on the inspiration and passion Omar brought to everything he did, including his commitment to a more just society.
In Omar's memory, we present his gifts in this stunning footage from last year, followed by the original post (from April 16th) on his recent crisis.
On the younger end of the musical spectrum, a local mover and shaker, Omar Higgins, is in the ICU at Methodist Hospital at this very moment. The founder of two critically acclaimed Memphis bands, Chinese Connection Dub Embassy (CCDE) and Negro Terror, suffered from the double whammy of a mini-stroke and a staph infection two weeks ago. Like Green, Higgins has no health insurance.
Higgins and CCDE have been notable community activists as ambassadors for Musicians for LeBonheur, helping to raise money for LeBonheur Children's Hospital. Omar is also a church youth leader and music director. Friends and family are now hoping that his supporters and fans will give back, via a GoFundMe campaign. As with Green, a fundraising event will also be held for Higgins on Thursday, May 23rd, at Growlers.
For those who have ever been moved by these or other Memphis artists, this is a good time to give something back. Remembering how unforgiving our current health care system is to those in the arts, community support can literally make the difference between life and death.
The talents of musical geniuses among us are deeply felt by Memphians, but it's rare that such talent can win you health insurance. A life dedicated to the arts can be a treacherous path for those plying their trade full time, regardless of how moved we might be by their performances. And thus we have that very American institution: the health care fundraiser.
Herman Green, Stevie Wonder, and Joyce Cobb
Dr. Herman Green will turn 89 next month, and, spry as he may be, he's encountered some health issues in the past year that have challenged his bank account. Luckily, his friends and comrades are staging an event at the Railgarten on Tuesday, April 16th, to bring fans and colleagues together on his behalf.
Stephen Perkins (drummer for Jane's Addiction & Banyan), Willie Waldman, Norton Wisdom, and Ross Rice (and several other surprise guests) are all flying in to Memphis for the show, joining FreeWorld & Devil Train in a celebration of this generation-spanning icon of Memphis music. It will not only be a rare reunion of Memphis players who don't often perform together, it will contribute much love and funding to a man who has mentored so many.