Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Revolution Will Be Live by Alex Snider

Gil Scott-Heron, activist, poet, musician, died last Friday at 62. A huge loss to his family and friends and all those who knew him, and also to those millions who have been influenced by his words, his humanity and by his activism. Over his forty-year career he tackled social injustice issues such as civil rights, Apartheid and nuclear weapons, and was very vocally critical of Ronald Reagan.

Musically, it's hard to imagine what music would look like were it not for him. His anthem, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", was the primordial rap song, although Scott-Heron rejected the title Godfather of Hip-hop in favour of his own moniker of Bluesologist. It's not just neo-soul or hip-hop that we owe him thanks for; considering how much most genres of music influence one another, the landscape of contemporary music would be vastly different were it not for Gil Scott-Heron. 

There is this clip of a documentary that is going to be released later this year in which Scott-Heron says: "If someone comes to you and asks for help, and you can help them, you're supposed to help them. Why wouldn't you? You have been put in the position somehow to be able to help this person." And, that seems to be exactly the way in which he lived his life judging from the obituaries written by his friends and the outpouring of grief over his death. He spoke the truth and he spoke from the heart; he will be so greatly missed.

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