*UPDATED* Gil Scott-Heron: the revolution lives on | Music | The Guardian

Political activist, rap pioneer and poet Gil Scott-Heron shaped the sound of today. His friends and famous fans on why he still matters

Source: Gil Scott-Heron: the revolution lives on | Music | The Guardian

*UPDATE* – My anecdote about the time I saw Gil at the Royal Festival Hall (and the Tel Aviv situation) has been clarified by performance-poet and musician Abdul Malik Al-Nasir, who had a close relationship with Gil and toured with him. See the comment below.

Thanks Malik!

This article is off the back of a tribute concert that’s happening in Liverpool tonight. I wish I could go, the line-up looks great.

Gil is probably one of my biggest influences. I was lucky enough to see him at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank when he was touring for the I’m New Here record. I remember there were some pro-Palestine people protesting outside, as he was billed as playing a gig in Israel later on in the tour and this was seen as a hypocrisy off the back of Gil campaigning against apartheid South Africa. One of the protesters came into the gig halfway through and started shouting at him. Gil didn’t break a sweat. “How would you like it if I came up to you and started shouting at you when you were doing your job?!” he quipped. At the end of the concert, he said that they would cancel the Tel Aviv gig.

A man of principles, a musical legend. Funny, too.

Here’s one of my picks. When I found out he died, I went and got a copy of this record.

3 thoughts on “*UPDATED* Gil Scott-Heron: the revolution lives on | Music | The Guardian

  1. Just a factual correction. I toured with Gil for many years. On the night of the Royal Festival Hall show, myself and the booking agent spoke to the Israeli boycott protesters outside. They explained the boycott and I told them I’d inform Gil. I also said that if Gil knows there’s a boycott, I guarantee he won’t play Tel Aviv. Sure enough, I told him to which he immediately replied (Before the show) “Fuck it I ain’t goin’. Cancel Tel Aviv.” The booking agent protested and said we should go and “use it as a platform to address the Palestinian issue.” Gil reiterated “I said I ain’t going now cancel it!” And the booking agent did. All that was done before he went on stage. I went outside and told the protesters it was cancelled and they still came in and tried to sabotage the show. That’s why he was pissed of with them. They also came too Manchester and Scotland and tried to do the same; citing the fact that the Tel Aviv promotor still had tickets on sale and had not yet announced the cancellation. I told them again, “Look Gil announced it from the stage in front of the press and 20000 people what more do you want? They’ll have to take it off sale soon ’cause he a’int going” – and he didn’t. That’s the truth of what happened and I’m a witness to it, Perhaps you might like to update your blog?

    • Right on, man – that’s really interesting! Thanks for the clarification. Were you at the tribute gig? I remember reading that Guardian piece you did after he died – that’s deep.

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      • I was the organiser of the tribute gig “The Revolution Will Be Live” at St Georges Hall in Liverpool in Aug 2015. I also opened the show with my band “Malik & The O.G’s” which featured 2 original members of Gil’s “Amnesia Express” Rod Youngs on drums and Ebo Shakur on flute & percussion. It made the front page of the Guardian under the title “The Revolution Lives on” it also made the front pages of Bido-Lito and The Skinny. You can see some elements of the show on my blog… http://malikandtheogs.blogspot.co.uk/

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