The Revolution Will Not Be Televised!
[This article was written on May 28, 2020 during the outbreak of protests regarding the death of George Floyd. He was an African american man murdered by police. Another one.]
That first phrase is pretty famous. The second, not as much. Both are words and lyrics written by author, poet, musician, activist, Gilbert Scott-Heron from his poem titled "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."
When Scott-Heron penned this poem and recorded it in the late 60's/early 70's he was talking about the control of media. He was expressing how television programming and news did not show an accurate depiction of what was really going on in the streets, particularly as it pertained to African American people.
In 1970 he was talking about police brutality and expressing that when black people took to the streets to fight for justice and fair treatment, the raw, and often violent, nature of that experience was not shown on TV. Perhaps he thought it never would be.
Ahhh... but Mr. Scott-Heron could not have imagined how much technology would change things over the next 50 years. He did not know that by the year 2020, we would all have the ability to be "The media" right in the palm of our hands. With digital technology, our phones and social media, anyone can show the entire world exactly what's happening, as it happens.
I bet Mr. Scott-Heron would be both elated and shocked to know that the revolution actually IS TELEVISED now.
I bet he'd be heartbroken to know that the second part is being televised too. We actually ARE SEEING brothers being murdered on instant replay.
It's tragic beyond words.
The same thing that was happening then, is happening now. Except today THE REVOLUTION IS TELEVISED! We all see it now Mr. Scott-Heron. We all see it.
THE REVOLUTION IS TELEVISED!
[Edit/Update: I've been listening to this recording all day. Let's be very clear, he was also sending a strong warning that ish was about to hit the fan. This was a call to action. A clear charge to get up and join the revolution...not just watch. Yeah....there's that.]