Tag Archives: Gil Scott Heron

Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts

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Source: Creator’s Project

*Janelle Monae Interview on The Guardian (David Bowie and Iman are huge fans!) and post about the future of holograms in concerts featuring Monae and M.I.A.’s performance.

*”7 Black Scientists and Engineers Who Helped Make Space Travel Possible” on Atlanta Black Star.

*Oju Africa has developed their own black emojis.

*Black Radical Imagination is presenting a 2-day forum from April 11-12th screening various films at NYC’s Cooper Union, featuring films and works from Martine Syms, Jeannette Elhers, Jabari Zuberi, Terence Nance & Sanford Biggers, Lauren Kelley, Lewis Vaughn and a special screening of Memory Room 452 by John Akomfrah.

*Besides appearing at MOONDANCE at PS1 next week, King Britt will also be opening the exhibition, Omnipresent, for the reboot of the science fiction magazine, Omni Magazine. on April 11th at Red Bull Studios in NYC.

*”Cool Jobs: Comic Illustrator Talks Art and Race in the World of Superheroes-” Afua Richardson Interview on Black Enterprise: “From what I’ve seen, there are some amazing black male artists in the industry – there’s Brian Stelfreeze, Nelson Blake, Sanford green, Keron Grant—they’re there. What I think ends up happening is a lot of aspiring black creators often make these kind of cliché comics. They make comics about the hood or about Egypt and they don’t push the perimeters of what being black can be defined as. Perhaps they think that because there’s not a lot of black protagonists, people should support them ,regardless of the quality of their work. They’re almost like, “Well, we’re not accepted, we’re not represented in comics properly so just accept this current effort.”  The problem I have with that, is they’re expecting Marvel and DC to tell their story instead of telling it themselves . being black is not a handicap. You can’t expect someone else to tell your story and get it correctly. I would hope they’d aspire to be a universal creator. Put your culture in your work, but also tell a good story. Make it, so that anyone can receive this and understand. If you create something for a niche market, understand the limitations of that niche. Beyond popular belief, Black people are not a niche market. The concepts, the stories, the things that blacks as a whole have contributed to humanity go beyond hip-hop and the streets.”

Continue reading Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts


Modern Griots: Afronauts and Afro-Aliens

We are embedded in space, even if we do not travel to outer space, and social politics have revolved around the the struggle to define time and space. Several artists have appropriated the terms, astronaut and aliens, and used them in their artwork within an afrofuturist context:

1) The above video is an excerpt from Soda Jerk’s (sisters Dan and Dominique Angeloro) Astro Black installation which examines the connections between space exploration and aliens stories, and black Atlantic social politics, such as the practice of abduction.

2) Cristina de Middel created a photograph series called Afronauts, which shows an inclusive approach to space travel. The United States and Russia are not the only places that thought about space travel. For example, in 1964, after Zambia gained its independence, it wanted to start a space program.

3) Jefferson Pinder’s “Afro-cosmonaut/Alien (White Noise)” is “an escapist video narrative that ends in destruction when the protagonist plummets back to earth after a mystical space journey. Like Icharrus, the epic fall comes after reaching a brilliant zenith that is both mesmerizing and lethal. This white-faced Butoh inspired performance is a crude metaphor of the civil rights legacy. Taking cues from experimental films, I plant myself within my work and ask the viewers to watch the images of propulsion and power.” Besides using several images, such as the launch of first U.S. spaceship into space and Martin Luther King, the video also samples samples Gil Scott-Heron’s “Whitey on the Moon.”

4) Speaking of Heron, he also did a song called, “Alien (Hold Onto Your Dreams),” which is about those who immigrate to America in hopes of living the American Dream.

5) Slate also posted an article on the history of Afronauts, from preacher Rev. Nix to Lil’ Wayne.

6) Fast ‘n’ Bulbous did a post on the Afro-Alien Diaspora, which is a discussion on the alien images used by Funk musicians.

Modern Griots: Gerald Watson, DJ 2-tone Jones and Shaolin Jazz

Yesterday, I wrote about the Festival of the Nw Black Imagination and one of the speakers was DJ 2-tone Jones. The idea for Jones and Watson’s project started with the graphic designer Logan Walters‘ project called, Wu-Note, in which he redesigned Wu-Tang Clan album covers as if they were original jazz Blue Note Records albums. Teaming up with artist Gerald Watson, Jones blended jazz instrumentals with the Wu-Tang Clan’s rhymes to create the mixtape, “Shaolin Jazz- The 37th Chamber,” which they released in April 2011. Gerald Watson has also worked on The Classics album cover art project and this is Capital Bop’s article for more on the project. Also, this is the April NPR article  and Revivalist article on the “Shaolin Jazz” mixtape.

(Continue below videos)



Pharoah Sanders- Astral Traveling

Killa Tape/Astral C.R.E.A.M. (samples Sanders)


Both Watson and Jones also have recently released their tribute to Gil Scott-Heron,called “The Gil Scott Suite.”

Gil Scott Heron: A Poetic Revolutionary

Yesterday, I was sad to find out that singer and poet Gil Scott Heron died at the age of 62. Best known for his poem and song, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” Heron was one of the important links between the 60s Beat poets and the Black Arts/Power Movement, and the Hip Hop and Spoken Word generations. Many poets and writers, such as Chuck D from Public Enemy, Kanye West, Common, Talib Kweli, and poet Lemn Sissay, credit him with teaching them how to speak and write in way that is meaningful to their audience. Also, several rappers, like West, have sampled his music in their own songs. Heron influenced many on the importance of caring about others, about their own community and about those less fortunate, even through his own struggles with drug abuse. Heron was a legendary poet, singer and man, and I wish I had the chance to see him and meet him. But now I hope he is finally at peace. Rest In Poetry.

The Revolution Will Not be Televised 

Home Is Where the Hatred Is 

Kanye West – My Way Home (Sampled Home Is Where the Hatred Is)

We Almost Lost Detroit 

Common – The People (Samples We Almost Lost Detroit)

Black Star – Brown Skin Lady (Also samples We Almost Lost Detroit)