There seem to be eternal truths and facts that can be said about the legendary Stevie Wonder. Although born Steveland Morris, the last name bestowed on him as an artist by Detroit producer Clarence Paul could not have been any more fitting. Steveland Morris is, in every sense of the word, a wonder. There is perhaps not a musical instrument on the planet that he cannot play. When his fingers touch the instrument, you can be sure to expect a magical moment to be produced. What makes it even more incredible is that through it all, he’s able to do it as a blind man. Or is he? Because the age-old rumor that some are led to believe is that Stevie Wonder can see.
Let’s take it back to 1950 when Lula Mae Hardaway gave birth to a legend. Born on May 13 of that year, Stevie Wonder was prematurely born six weeks before his due date. Unfortunately, he would develop blindness as a newborn due to retinopathy of prematurity, which is a disease caused by abnormally grown blood vessels in the retina. But as well all know, this disease did not slow down or stop the inevitable. Born within Steveland was an undeniable gift that would swiftly nurture and grow into an impeccable talent that would keep on giving.
Perhaps Stevie knew that everything in his life was meant to be. According to a 2004 interview with Oprah for O, The Oprah Magazine, he told his mother, “Don’t worry about me being blind, because I’m happy,” at just 5-years-old. And within the next 5 years, he learned to play multiple instruments. And at the young age of 11, Steveland Morris became “Little Stevie Wonder.” From there, Stevie Wonder’s world-renowned career began with countless records that are now immortalized in history.
Stevie Wonder’s gift has wowed the masses for decades. However, that hasn’t come without the skeptics who believe that the “Superstitious” singer and songwriter can actually see.
Many stories have arisen over the years that seemingly give account to Stevie Wonder being able to see. For example, Shaquille O’Neal once shared what he said was a “true story” of an encounter with Wonder. According to Shaq, both lived in the same building in Los Angeles. One day while the former Los Angeles Lakers Center was in the lobby of the building, he walked upon Stevie Wonder, who Shaq says immediately recognized him. He continued to share that they entered the elevator together. The singer then correctly pressed the button for his floor, got off the elevator, and proceeded to his place of residence without incident and seemingly without assistance. (To be fair, most elevator buttons are equipped with braille.)
Shaq’s story about Stevie Wonder had the guys rolling 😂 pic.twitter.com/OmYYbtSN2Y— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 13, 2019
R&B singer Tank also recently expressed that he believes Stevie Wonder can see “sometimes.” During his interview on Drink Champs, the “Stronger” singer stated that he’s met the 25-time Grammy Award-winner on multiple occasions. “I don’t know how he does it,” said Tank.
The singer tells a story of one of the moments he shared with Stevie Wonder when they were sitting and singing side by side at a keyboard. According to Tank, Wonder walked up to him, joined him at the instrument, and mentioned knowing the words to his songs. Stevie Wonder then proceeded to play some of the tunes. When asked if he believes the singer can see, Tank clarifies that due to Stevie Wonder’s other senses being heightened because of his blindness, “the ability to visualize what’s in front of you is possible.” Especially from a “sonic standpoint.”
There was another instance that occurred in 2010 at the White House. Stevie Wonder was among many other living legends to honor Paul McCartney. While PBS cameras were rolling, they happened to catch a moment where McCartney skipped across the stage during the finale performance and accidentally knocked the mic stand over. At the same time, Stevie Wonder appears to catch it before it hits the ground.
One of his close friends also seems to think that he can see. Iconic artist Lionel Richie appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show once, where he expressed that he spent his “whole life with [Stevie Wonder] thinking that he can see. The “Hello” singer shared a time when he went to Wonder’s house, and he was excited to play a new song for Richie. However, he tells Richie to come with him to the car and sit in the passenger seat while he sits in the driver’s seat. The next thing he knew, Stevie Wonder put the car in reverse and started backing down the driveway, frightening Richie. Wonder then stops the car, laughing at his prank.
Black-ish star Anthony Anderson is another skeptic. While on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the actor admitted that he challenged Stevie Wonder to a basketball game. He then tells a story of when he was on stage in Tobago with Chris Tucker and Johnny Gil. According to Anderson, Stevie Wonder directly approaches him onstage and looks him in the eye while instructing him to take him to the piano.
Atlanta creator and actor Donald Glover told a tale to Jimmy Kimmel of how he communicated with Stevie Wonder. Glover explained that he was trying to secure a Stevie Wonder song to place in an episode of the show. Once he got in contact with the singer, the two began to text back and forth. The action, he says, was nothing short of mind-boggling.
Perhaps Stevie Wonder didn’t make the rumors any better when he made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and read from the National Enquirer. Or, maybe Wonder was playing into the joke due to the Enquirer’s headline, “Stevie Wonder Can See Again!”
Whether or not he can see, the world is blessed with Stevie Wonder’s overall gift.