Keeping this short and sweet, this Gram will focus on Gil Scott Heron. A black man and an American soul and jazz poet, musician, and author with a dream to awaken the minds and souls of the masses through spoken word in the 1970s and 1980s, Gil Scott Heron was not only a revolutionary but he was also extremely influential to many Black women and men alike. Penning and performing a number of pieces like, like The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, among countless others, Gil Scott Heron helped shaped the face of the protest culture as well as the face of the Hip-Hop culture in the 1970s. Among some of his most notable works, Comment No. 1, as mentioned in an earlier blog post, heralded the minds of many Black youths into a state of WOKE-ness.
Gil Scott Heron’s Comment No. 1 provided a stepping stone, or rather a foundation, to his subsequent piece, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, diving into the deep folds of racism and sussing out the oppression Blacks people faced, and to this day, still face in America. Enveloping his lyrics with the deep rooted rage that resonated among the many disenchanted Black people of the time, Comment No. 1 provided a critical commentary on America’s true feelings towards Black people.
So, as promised, here are the masterful and powerful lyrics of Gil Scott Heron’s Comment No.1.
Poem here says, Comment #1 Uh, Comment #2 is dynamite But Comment #1 is the one we decided To use here this evening Because it makes a comment if you listen Closely on what is now being advertised In East Harlem as the "Rainbow Conspiracy" - a combination of The Students For A Democratic Society The Black Panthers, and the Young Lords And this is my particular comment about that conspiracy, "Comment #1": The time is in the street you know Us living as we do upside down And the new word to have is revolution People don't even want to hear the preacher spill or spiel Because God's hole card has been thoroughly piqued And America is now blood and tears instead of milk and honey The youngsters who were programmed To continue fucking up woke up one night Digging Paul Revere and Nat Turner as the good guys. America stripped for bed and we had not all yet closed our eyes. The signs of Truth were tattooed across our often-entered vagina We learned to our amazement untold tale of scandal Two long centuries buried in the musty vault Hosed down daily with a gagging perfume America was a bastard the illegitimate daughter Of the mother country whose legs Were then spread around the world And a rapist known as freedom: free doom Democracy, liberty, and justice were Revolutionary code names that preceded The bubbling bubbling bubbling bubbling Bubbling in the mother country's crotch And behold a baby girl was born Nurtured by slave holders and whitey racists It grew and grew and grew screwing Indiscriminately like mother, like daughter Everything unplagued by her madame mother The present mocks us, good Black people With keen memories set fire to the bastards Who ask us in a whisper to melt and integrate Young, very young, teeny Bopping revolt on weekend young dig By proxy what a mental ass kicking They receive through institutionalized everything And vomit up slogans to stay out of Vietnam They seek to hide their relationship with the world's prostitute Alienating themselves from everything Except dirt and money with long hair, grime, and dope To camo-hide the things that cannot be hidden They become runaway children to walk the streets downtown with everyday Black people sitting on the curb Crying because we know that they will go back Home with a clear conscience and a college degree The irony of it all, of course Is when a pale face SDS motherfucker dares Look hurt when I tell him to go find his own revolution He wonders why I tell him that America's revolution Will not be the melting pot but the toilet bowl He is fighting for legalized smoke, or lower voting age Less lip from his generation gap and fucking in the street Where is my parallel to that? All I want is a good home and a wife and a children And some food to feed them every night Back goes pale face to basics Does Little Orphan Annie have a natural? Do Sluggo's kinks make him a refugee from Mandingo? What does Webster's say about soul? I say you silly chipe motherfucker, your great grandfather Tied a ball and chain to my balls And bounced me through a cotton field While I lived in an unflushable toilet bowl And now you want me to help you overthrow what? The only Truth that can be delivered to a four year Revolutionary with a whole card i.e. skin is this: Fuck up what you can in the name of Piggy Wallace, Dickless Nixon, and Spiro Agnew Leave brother Cleaver and Brother Malcolm alone please After all is said and done build a new route to China if they'll have you Who will survive in America? Who will survive in America? Who will survive in America? Who will survive in America?
Fun Fact for Kanye West Fans: Kanye West sampled a portion of Gil Scott Heron’s Comment No. 1 in his song, Lost in The World on his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album (2010). Exploring the Black experience all the while criticizing the flawed idealistic views of the American dream, West’s song provides a new layer to an age old classic: a constant, a reality tale of the plight of Blacks in a whitewashed world.