There is hardly anyone who does not know Stevie Wonder, the iconic singer, musician, multi-instrumentalist, and philanthropist. But the question is, did the stellar artist come into the world as a blind child or did he lose his sight through the course of life? This article centers on Stevie Wonder’s sight, how he lost it, as well as other health issues that have ailed the legendary American singer.
What Exactly Happened To Stevie Wonder And How Did Ge Go Blind?
The celebrated singer and multi-instrumentalist Stevie Wonder was not born blind. It all started when he came as a premature baby, six weeks earlier than full term. According to facts, the newborn Stevie came with an optical impairment known as ROP (retinopathy of prematurity) which in explanation is an eye disorder in the retina, usually caused by abnormal blood vessels. As if that was not enough, the infant was still placed in an incubator which worsened the situation, leaving him blind.
Though Stevie Wonder has not been able to see for a better part of his life, he has had vision for long – from his breakthrough profession as a Motown child genius to being inducted into the R&B Hall of Fame in 2019. The American native became one of the most popular Afro-American artists of all time.
Even during his formative years, Stevie Wonder has always risen above his vision impairment and has never allowed it to hold him back. According to reports, the iconic multi-instrumentalist was just five years old when he told his mum that he was still a happy child, despite being blind. Stevie acknowledged the remark when asked about it by Oprah Winfrey, according to him, he was bordered that his mama cried all the time as she believed his blindness to be a punishment from God for a sin she committed. Stevie said that his mother lived at a time when women in her situation experienced a lot of difficulties.
Stevie Wonder’s blindness was not the only challenge his family faced, they equally had to battle with hunger as revealed by Stevie’s mum in her biography published in 2002. According to the book, the singer’s father was an alcoholic who frequently abused his wife (Stevie Wonder’s mother) until she had no other option than to go into prostitution.
Lula Hardaway as his mum was called eventually relocated the entire family to Detroit where the blind child prodigy proceeded to teach himself how to handle some musical instruments like harmonica, piano, and drums before he attained 10 years. On the long run, the talented musician’s prowess attracted the attention of a member of The Miracle band Ronnie White, resulting into an audition with the world-famous Motown Records.
That single audition set Stevie Wonder on the right course to becoming one of the most popular musicians worldwide, a household name, best recognized his stellar performances in hit tracks like I Just Called to Say I Love You, Higher Ground, Superstition, and My Cherie Amour.
On the impact of his lack of sight in his music, the multi-instrumentalist told The New York Times in a 1975 interview that his blindness played a big part, making him go places leveraging on his imagination and to put down what he has heard people say on paper. According to the musician, being blind has better equipped him to associate what he hears from people with what is inside of him.
Blindness isn’t the Singer’s Only Ailment
Apart from blindness, Stevie Wonder has faced other health battles. He was involved in a fatal car crash in 1973 when an onward collision between his vehicle and a truck resulted in a head injury that put him in a coma for four days.
2019 saw the outbreak of another rumor on the iconic singer’s health, and truly, the rumors were confirmed by Stevie Wonder himself who disclosed that he was scheduled for a kidney transplant during the fall.
In spite of every health issue, the popular musician has managed to focus on his career, channeling his burning passion for social justice into several things, which include his art. He was part of the campaign team that went in support of marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. as a public holiday in America, celebrating the designation with Happy Birthday – his 1981 song. Stevie Wonder also participated in the song We Are the World which supported the fight against hunger in Africa, and when he won the Oscar in 1985, the famed singer dedicated it to Nelson Mandela.
According to what Stevie Wonder told The Guardian in a 2012 interview, he loves himself, loves what he is and loves the fact that God gave him the opportunity to take what he has and make something good out of it.