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Gil Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949-May 27, 2011), A Remembrance

I am unabashedly a child of 1970s New York City, my life rooted in Spanish Harlem and the South Bronx. 70s chic (platforms, bells, headwraps) continues to inform my aesthetic today. 70s music (disco, funk, jazz) is like home to me. By the time I entered college in the late 80s, I had developed literary tastes for black revolutionary poets who wrote about beautiful black people struggling to be free.

While in college I hosted a weekly jazz show called the Blues Note on our alternative radio station. After a more senior dj once told me that a song he'd heard me play was not as alternative as it could be (I was pretty certain he was wrong), I took to playing Gil Scott-Heron's "Liberation Song (Red, Black, and Green)" as my sign off. Scott-Heron's gravelly, yet steady rocking voice, Brian Jackson's flute, and the Midnight Band's rhythm section scored for me, an alternative, groovy, revolutionary art practice, as resonate in the early 90s and now the 2010s, as it was in 1975. 


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