Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Remembering a Martyr

The first time I heard of Gil Scott Heron was when I was in High School and I was at a Summer Stage show. I don't think I actually heard him perform. All I remember was there was this poet who opened for him and he literally got booed off the stage. It was sad, and I was probably stoned and I think we (my friends and I) wandered off to sheep's meadow to smoke more pot. I didn't really hear his music until I was working in the marketing dept at Giant Step. TVT had re-issued "The Bottle" 12" and Giant Step was hired to promote and market the 12" to DJs and tastemakers. It was almost ironic as the song was pretty much an "anti-drinking" song that we were trying to push in clubs, bars and lounges. Regardless of it's message, I found the content of the song to be quite compelling and I was at an age where my musical taste had evolved and become a lot more sophisticated. I eventually listened to a lot more material by Gil Scott Heron and found ways to mix his songs into my DJ sets.

I can't say that I ever really became a huge Gil Scott Heron fan, and I feel the need to clarify that because I know a lot of people who really connected with his music. I always had a deep respect for him. He is one of the most socially responsible musical artist of all time, and the passion he felt for creating change within his community was painfully and remarkably real. I use the word painfully because he encountered a great deal of hardship in his life. I feel no need to describe the difficulties that GSH endured but sometimes I believe that life can be just as if not more tragic than death. Gill Scott Heron is a name that will always be synomonous with social justice and equality. He dedicated his life to this struggle, so now at last, he can finally rest in peace.