THANK GOD 4 GIL SCOTT-HERON…

gil scott heron

I caught this video series over at M-Spekt’s website. I was so blown away that I almost got some dust in my eyes. GIL SCOTT-HERON has been one of my heroes for such a long time and to learn that he was also inspired by JOHN COLTRANE and LANGSTON HUGHES was such a shot in my arm this weekend.

We sometimes don’t think to make the connections to the artists as activists because of how commercialization has watered down so many of the messages. Let it be known that GIL SCOTT-HERON chose to be a prophet over making a profit from his creative talent. He was so far ahead of everyone else because he was so human.

GIL SCOTT-HERON reminds me of my father because of the truth to power that he is unafraid to speak. He was right out in the front of dissension when the government sought to silence the people that protested the war in southeast Asia and the war on the poor here stateside. GIL SCOTT-HERON paid the price 10x over with his own battle with addiction.

I don’t find myself in a temple or church too much nowadays but I find different ways to thank GOD for gifting me these breaths. Before you go out today watch some of these video clips and become truly amazed for the man that GIL SCOTT-HERON is and maybe even find the challenge through his words to become the person that you want to be.


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6 Responses to “THANK GOD 4 GIL SCOTT-HERON…”

  1. It’s still wild to realize both the Last Poets first album and “Small Talk at 125th & Lenox” came out in 1970– and both were successful!

    DP, do you know the poetry of Bob Kaufman? He’s pretty obscure but along with then LeRoi Jones (whose best work was prose or theater, I think), he’s one of the heavy jazz-influenced guys between Langston and Last Poets/Gil-Scott.

    This is a pretty hot intro for the curious–

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1566890381?

    I’d imagine Kaufman was an influence of dudes like Weldon Irvine too, for those to whom that means something. (Presumably a good part of the older DP heads.)

  2. DirtyJerz says:

    “…you keep sayin’ kick it, quit it, kick it, quit it, God
    but did you ever try?
    to turn your sick soul inside-out
    so that the world can watch you die?”

    The realest.

  3. RW says:

    Sometime around 1980. Angel Dust was at the top of the charts, and I realized that Gil was one of the first (no Charles Barkley) role models talking to me through the radio. He talked about how there “aint no turning, ain’t no turning back” once you went down that road. I was all of 15 and wanted to know everything I could about this man… who was talking to me through my radio…in ways that my parents had talked to me by telling me not to do drugs… but saying it in a way that I could understand. I didnt know anything about the revolution and whether or not it would be televised, all I knew was that there was a song about angel dust that I just couldnt stop listening to.

    But the only way I could find out more about this “Gil-Scott Heron” at the time was through his music. I couldnt google him or look up his wikipedia page or get his older music through itunes. So I bought his next album that came out called Reflections.

    Damn.

    Gil taught me more through the 7 songs on that album about black history and what it meant to be “socially conscious” than I learned in any month of February. Here was somebody singing ( in B-Movie) about General Franco, Caspar Weinberger and John Foster Dulles in ways… in ways that I had never heard of before. Politics, economics, Hollywood, Wall Street, Harlem – Gil told me what it was all about… and in a way that I could understand.

    “As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here’s a look at the closing numbers… racism’s up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot – the House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce and common sense is at an all-time low on heavy trading.”

    He wrote that about 30 years ago. I’ll be damned if those words don’t ring true today.

    Unfortunate side note… I had the opportunity to meet Gil about 10 years later – I was working the night shift in a hotel in DC and he was playing Blues Alley that weekend. I was fired up about meeting him and getting a chance to tell him how much that meant to me 10 years prior. Unbeknownst to me, he had started to hit the pipe pretty hard at that point. He ended up trashing the hotel room that we gave him ( the best one in the house) and running up a huge bill. They actually ended up throwing him out after one night. I wouldnt have believed it… but the screen from a pipe fell out of a pack of cigarettes that he had when he came to check in. It went downhill from there.

    I still have mad respect for the man. Even with his demons that have kicked his ass in recent years… like you said DP, he is one of my heroes too.

    Sorry for the long ass post.

  4. Aunt Jackie says:

    There’s a picture of me as a little girl with an afro with Gil Scott Heron. He was a friend of my mother’s and I grew up going to his shows and listening to his music. My mother became more of a fundamental Muslim but every now and then when he was in town I could get her to go check him out with me.

    Last time we caught a show together he left about midway, probably to cop some dope he was in a bad space, we didn’t even go back stage to say hi.

    Caught him at SOBs in February and the cat blew my mind. He’s still got it, damn he’s still got it. I left I cried I almost gave a white boy some p*ssy the show was so good. Check for him when he comes your way, you won’t regret it!

  5. the_dallas says:

    RW and Aunt Jackie,
    Thank you for these personal testimonials. I have seen Gil a couple of times at SOB’s and the last time was in 1998 and he did that disappearing act on us too.

    The funny thing about heroes is that just like sandwiches the picture in your mind’s eye is always better than the actuality. I don’t hold Gil’s flaws against him anymore. I appreciate him, and ODB and my little league coach Les all the same.

    There but for the grace if GOD go I, and in truth, I do go there, not often, but I do go there…

  6. Aunt Jackie says:

    Dallas, he’s clean now….his voice sounds like he never hit a crack pipe in his life, I’m serious it was a testimony to real. the brother sounded like new money up there!

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