The Godfather Of Rap, He Redefined Our Understanding Of Revolution

gil scott heron smiling
L. Graciella Maiolatesi
May 2, 2023

Deemed the “godfather of rap,” Gil Scott-Heron was a writer, poet, and musician. His work fused jazz, poetry, rap, and passionate protest.

Scott-Heron was ahead of his time when he wrote, “The revolution will not be televised.” 

The line publicly called out television and media networks for not broadcasting news reflecting the protests happening in the streets. And it’s still relevant today.

Anti-Black messaging has always been present within media, be it pro-slavery propaganda or victims of police brutality being villanized

Media works to expose information, which is why elements of our history like the Underground Railroad depended on secrecy. Secrecy meant safety.

The news is so overrun with propaganda and fake news that only 11% of Americans trust television news. Many look to other media or influencers to stay informed, with roughly 23% of social media users having recently changed their political views due to information learned from social media. 

We must be careful about which sources we listen to; however, sometimes social media IS what keeps us most informed about global issues the news works to cover up.

As we reimagine protesting, we switch Scott-Heron’s statement to a question: should the revolution be televised? Or is it time to return to the underground?

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