New York Times > Gil Scott-Heron, Voice of Black Culture, Dies at 62
Gil Scott-Heron, the poet and recording artist whose syncopated spoken style and mordant critiques of politics, racism and mass media in pieces like “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” made him a notable voice of black protest culture in the 1970s and an important early influence on hip-hop, died on Friday at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 62 and had been a longtime resident of Harlem.
The Daily Swarm > The Daily Swarm Interview: Gil Scott-Heron — The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged by Andy Gensler:
I don’t think many people realize how funny “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is–lines about Rocky & Bullwinkle and Glen Campbell and the Beverley Hillbillies.
[GS-H] That’s how we wrote it. There’s a lot of wit in there. What we were talking about man is that like you never get anything done, you never see anything that helps you. You need to be out doing stuff. The Revolution takes place in your mind. Once you decide to look at the other side of it seriously and see if there’s any value to it. We were the ones with the bibles and the flags and shit but they were calling us militants and you all son of a bitches were the ones with the guns.
But you were also well-versed in pop culture –“Put a Tiger in Your Tank or It Goes Better With a Coke’ –a lot of the song is lampooning pop culture.
[GS-H] That’s what we were trying to do. We were trying to show people how silly the shit was they were wasting their time on when they needed to be trying to help.
But something about “Revolution” just resonated, it hadn’t been said before like that. Either you were a revolutionary or maybe you were a comedian.
[GS-H] It was up to people to decide which (laughs).
What do you make of people crediting you with starting hip-hop?
[GS-H] I don’t know if I can take the blame for it.
“My life has been guided by women, but because of them, I am a man.”
–Gil Scott-Heron, “On Coming from a Broken Home (Pt. 2),”
from the album I’m New Here (2010)