Listen to this:
Okay, I admit it—I grew up isolated from reality; in my whitebread SoCal suburb, the outside world may as well have been the moon. Not surprisingly, then, musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron didn’t find his way onto my record player. I hadn’t even heard of him until recently. Makes me wonder: What else have I missed?
Obviously a precursor to rap, which I’ve never gotten into, but this—this—is awesome:
What was I hearkening to in high school? Whitebread teenage music of the day: Led Zeppelin, Boston, Heart, Queen (we don’t want no education . . . hmmm, that’s good cuz we didn’t get one [oops, that was Pink Floyd]). Oh, and I went through a serious Beatles obsession when I was 17/18. Black artists? Not in my whitey-white world. Stevie Wonder was the one exception, but I didn’t get into his music until later.
I’m gonna have to buy me some Scott-Heron, get me some soul, man. And yeah, I get it that he was protesting exactly the world I grew up in—what can I say? We can’t help where we come from, only where we’re going.
And speaking of the seventies and insular white folk, I wonder how many conservative whites, other than my dad, loved Archie Bunker and All in the Family, not getting that it was a farce? That it was making fun of them? Or did they not care, reveling in the audacity of a fellow bigot?
If you have time, watch this, and stick with it, cuz the end is priceless:
And reading some of the comments at this video, it’s clear that some people still don’t get that AITF was a farce.