Peace Go With You, Brother
When the great Gil Scott-Heron died in 2011, he was celebrated as a poet, teacher, artist, activist, a brilliant troubled man of "moral beauty" revered by many Black Americans in tumultuous times as a folk hero, "a part of us." On Thursday, his protégé Malik Al Nasir will finally honor the surrogate father who "meant everything to me" with a tribute concert, "The Revolution Will Be Live," as part of the Liverpool International Music Festival. Years in the making, the concert will feature musicians and activists whose lives Scott-Heron touched: Along with Al Nasir, an author and performer, it will include rapper Talib Kweli, Scott-Heron's son Rumal Rackley, Nelson Mandela's grandson Ndaba Mandela, and several bands. Those performing cite Scott-Heron's multiple and disparate gifts, from his musical inspiration for today's rap, funk and soul, to his longtime civil rights activism against apartheid, nuclear power, inequality and the Vietnam War, to his seminal records from the famed "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" - played in Tahrir Square during protests against Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak - to the final dark, "I'm New Here." Scott-Heron's son Rumal Rackley remembers his father as "a phenomenal intellect, humorist, activist and artist – and a man who cared deeply about social issues and humanity. He was a complex character, a troubled soul. He wasn’t perfect. But what he did have was sincerity, and heart. He wanted to raise consciousness and make the world a better place.” He is missed. Thankfully, the music lives on.