I will not assume that many of my peers have an idea who Gil Scott-Heron is, or have any real knowledge of his impact. Most of his work until, recent was produced during the 1970s. By the time I was born in 1988, Gil Scott-Heron was rarely heard from unless to highlight the hard times he had fallen on.
However yesterday, at the announcing of his passing, people across the world responded. Many from various circles and backgrounds. Even Eminem tweeted ” RIP Gil Scott-Heron, He influenced all of hip-hop.” As word continues to spread and more people becomes aware of his passing, the praise and adulation will undoubtedly pour in. Although his impact was felt world wide, his spoken word often dealt with the social issues felt by those within the black community. He became a social activist through the lyrics and lines within his poems and spoken word. Over percussionist sounds his words would flow touching upon political issues , poverty and disparity within government programs.
Gil Scott-Heron’s most popular piece The Revolution Will Not Be Televised took aim at mass media,mocking through references of pop-culture items and the role they played in distracting Americans from real issues.
To truly understand the talent and amazing spirit in which Gil Scott-Heron connected with millions isn’t to read about it, but to experience it for oneself. That is how he impacted a culture and helped to influence generations after. Through his words, his prose , his unique approach to addressing social issues over those rhythmic drums. That is after all how he impacted mine.
So I leave you with the link to his spoken word and the explanation that would come years later to what is regarded as his best work. RIP Gil Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011)
“The catchphrase, what that was all about “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” that was about the fact that the first change that takes place is in your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you’re living and the way you move. So when we said that The Revolution Will Not be Televised we were saying that the thing that is going to change people, is something that no one will ever be able to capture on film. It’ll just be something that you see and all of a sudden you realize “I’m on the wrong page or I’m on the right page but the wrong note and I’ve got to get in sync with everyone else to understand what going on in this country”