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Truthdigger of the Week

Truthdigger of the Week: Gil Scott-Heron

Every week, Truthdig recognizes an individual or group of people who spoke truth to power, blew the whistle or stood up in the face of injustice. You can see past winners here, and make your own nomination for our next awardee here.

Talk about speaking truth to power. Our pick for Truthdigger of the Week, Gil Scott-Heron, served as a living example of that idea with his provocative artistry, mixing poetry, music and activism in his signature style over the course of four decades until his death on May 27 at age 62.

Heron’s best known work is “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” a song-poem that has stuck in our collective cultural memory since it was first recorded in 1970, but he continued to create meaningful poetry for another 40 years.

Reader Peter Hockley nominated Heron “Because he always spoke truth to power!” and Lydia Howell described him in her nomination message as an “amazing truthteller.”

Heron is credited with influencing generations of musicians, among them rapper Lupe Fiasco who wrote his own poem in tribute after learning of Heron’s death:

The Television Will Not Be Revolutionized!

“Ain’t no changing me” said my flat screen TV, No More Che’s to the rescue, or Black Panthers to correct you, just coaxial cables and satellite signals to connect you to a world that doesn’t really look like it does on TV, where everything is much shorter, fatter, uglier and in disorder, where u have to do it now because there are no digital recorders where if the present gets boring you can just fast forward,

The Television Will Not Be Revolutionized!

So there will be no revolution, or paradoxically ironic televised public execution of the entire worldwide televising institution, there wont even be a celebritized, televised trial of old baby blue, cuz you see my dear friends the television will not be revolutionized but what about the revolution that should taking place inside………………….of you?

While the death of Gil Scott-Heron is a tragic loss for a messed-up world, we are grateful for his life and the countless artists and activists he has inspired.

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