In the world of arts; fashion, music, poetry and culture collide to create revolution. Revolution being change, not only a representative of the political anarchy often mistaken as synonymous with the term. In my 23 years (whew), there have been few artists who have lived controversy free while making an impact, by few .. I mean none. One of my favorites who dabbled in singing, writing , rapping and performing spoken word poetry was Gil Scott Heron. A noted spoken word poet/ conscious rap pioneer/ singer who hailed from Chicago, Illinois. Sadly, I just received news that Gil passed on 5/27/11, after decades of providing fans with his voice.
The incomparable Gil Scott Heron died in New York at 62 years old, his career which was put on pause due to a drug indictment was just slowly making a turn as he was featured on Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy ” and as he featured Nas on his single entitled ” New York is Killin Me“. Gil’s voice comforted you on Kanye & Common’s “My Way Home” and Gil reminded you that ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘. ILL GIL made his mark.
Well, I can’t say I remember the first time I heard Gil Scott Heron’s work..but I can say I remember the first time I listened.
You see, Gil is classic…his raw honesty is effortless and evident. I bought Evolution & Flashback: The Very Best of Gil Scott Heron in ‘99 upon (re-buying) a few classic albums ( Illmatic, I Am & Black on Both Sides ). When I finally came around to indulging in his revolutionary masterpiece, I realized I’d discovered something I thought I had already found. I found inspiration from someone I was already inspired by. I fell deeper in love with Gil’s pure way of being poignant while speaking to both the ignorant and educated.
Gil gave me what Tupac gave me. He gave me the middle-man to intelligence and reality, he combined the experience of the ghetto with the knowledge of politics and civil rights. I was addicted to his food for thought and the CD knew it. Gil gave me humor like comedians Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney, while stirring in the harsh truths of racial politics. Gil gave me the staunch belief of Garvey and Malcolm X and stirred in emotion so that it wasn’t too hard to swallow. His words were shrouded in sentiment and strength, simultaneously.
With talent comes controversy but true genius will always overcome obstacles.I’ll always look at Gil as an inspiration because he was resistant and fearless. His poems could make any neocolonialist or supremacist cringe at the thought of liberation. Gil still spread his message. At the show that I was blessed to see in NY at the Malcolm X 125th Street Park, Gil finished performing and said ” y’all still coming out to hear an ol’ fool ramble ” .. the crowd cheered, laughed and applauded. The reality was that 61 year old Gil was one of our last active elders known and respected on a worldwide scale. He sang, he spoke his pieces and he flashed that alluring,mysterious and mischievous smile at the audience all while being a catalyst for change. I really, really, really love(d) Gil, he IS revolution represented through art to me. I hope to make an impact like he did one day.
I’ll always reflect his consciousness & humble heroism.
REST in POWER Ill Gil.
We here at Fashionnerrd honor and remember a true cultural icon.
From Fashionnerrd to you. In Memory of one of the best poets to ever touch a mic.