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R.I.P. Gil Scott-Heron

By Harriet Staff

Gil Scott-Heron, the poet and political activist who helped lay the groundwork for rap and is best known for the song/poem “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” died on Friday night at the age of 62. Scott-Heron had come back into prominence after being featured on Kanye West’s latest album and releasing new work of his own last year.

Here are links to remembrances on Scott-Heron from BBC, The New York Times and the Washington Post . There’s also a moving tribute from Steve Almond over at The Rumpus:

More than any single issue, Gil’s essential topic was America, how the nation had fallen away from its moral precepts and into ruin, a condition of spiritual malaise that would eventually deliver us the bigotry and psychotic greed of the Bush Era.

If this makes Gil Scott-Heron sound didactic, the fault is mine, for it is the unique talent of the prophet to convert rage into poetry.

In 2010, Chuck D had the following to say about Scott-Heron:

“You can go into Ginsberg and the Beat poets and Dylan, but Gil Scott-Heron is the manifestation of the modern word. He and the Last Poets set the stage for everyone else.”

In addition to the major news outlets, many artists Tweeted in response to Scott-Heron’s passing, including Cee Lo, Sarah Silverman, Usher, Eminem, Michael Moore, Donald Glover, and many, many more. #gilscottheron.

He will most certainly be missed.


Posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 by Harriet Staff.