Last week I received a tweet from my daughter-in-law, which informed me in her exquisitely succinct micro-blogging language that Gil Scott Heron was dead. Her post read: ‘RIP Gil:( I just found you and now you’re gone‘. I was surprised that Anna knew of him as he was a jazz poet hipster famous in the 70′s for his activism in the black consciousness movement. The micro-link on her tweet lead straight to a video of his most famous poem: ‘The Revolution will not be Televised‘. It must have made quite a few god-fearing white folk squirm at the time, as it was a Black-Panther referencing radical call to action. There was a lot more to Gil than that as he inadvertently started a poetry/music revolution. He is widely regarded as the father of rap – judge for yourselves! He traveled around festivals and clubs and was especially beloved in Europe – Last week the BBC headlined their news reports with his demise and Jazz radio stations in London and New York devoted the whole weekend to his music, poetry and legacy.
I have since learned that a new generation found him, embraced his music and now mourn his passing – the more things change the more they stay the same. Remember Angela Davis, black activist lawyer with the wonderful hair; darling of the radical human rights movement – she now reviews for Jazz Times. The ‘revolution’ may not be televised but brothers and sisters, it will be ‘tweeted’ and disseminated on ‘Facebook‘.