“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is perhaps the best-known line of poetry of any post-war American poet. Gil Scott-Heron’s accomplishments and views allow for many labels, none of which encompass the man: jazz musician, singer-songwriter, poet, novelist, and historian. Born in 1949, Scott-Heron released more than twenty albums, two novels (the first published when he was 19), and the 2012 memoir The Last Holiday about Stevie Wonder’s campaign to enshrine Martin Luther King’s birthday as a US national holiday.) His work is political, personal, and always richly poetical.
In July, 1999, Wayne Malcolm of CJSW Community Radio Calgary and I met with Gil Scott-Heron at the Calgary Folk Festival. He discussed:
He began by talking about his famous father who was known as the Black Arrow—and no, he wasn’t a superhero.