Home > I'm just saying, I'm not saying > Was Gil Scott-Heron the most bigoted, pro-government musician of all-time?

Was Gil Scott-Heron the most bigoted, pro-government musician of all-time?

Things I know/care about Gil Scott-Heron:

  1. His dad played for Celtic
  2. Literally nothing else

OK, deep down in the lowest recesses of my memory I know that he’s the guy that sang “Television, Drug of the Nation”. I think he was also the dude that did that one song about how he hates Engelbert Humperdinck that was later used to shift sweatshop-manufactured running shoes as well. But to me, he’s the son of a guy who played for Celtic. Like Scott Oakes’ dad being in Showaddywaddy, it’s all I need to know about every party involved.

And then I copped this quote from Gil a few days ago:

 “Personally, I support Rangers.”

Now, to me, there can only be three possible reasons for a man supporting a different sports team to his father:

  1. Geographical relocation
  2. Daddy issues
  3. Ideological reasons

Option one would make sense: rather than growing up a stone’s throw from Sauciehall Street, Heron was raised in Chicago. However, Gil has never thrown his weight behind any Chicago-based football teams: not Chicago Fire, not the 1920 Peel Cup champions Bricklayers and Masons FC and not the curiously named FC Twente3 IL. So it can’t be that.

Daddy issues? Can heterosexual man have daddy issues? If not, it’s feasibly that Gil Scott-Heron could have been a homosexual: he did, after all, attend an independent school. However, he has been repeatedly shouted out by Chuck D, famously the world’s most homophobic man (do be sure to check the Simon Reynolds interview with Chuck D where Charlie’s on some proper “Women need to shut the fuck up and get back in the kitchen” ish, and gender studies 101 graduate Simey doesn’t pick him up on a single one of his quotes), so I doubt it’s that. If you listen to any of the 2000s Public Enemy albums you’ll hear tacit endorsement of 1/3 of David Copeland.

So it has to be option 3, then: Gil Scott-Heron was sexually aroused by the images of a government sending its military in to shoot Catholic schoolchildren through the head during a peaceful rally. Gil Scott-Heron was a man who stood idly by while the Birmingham Six and the Guilford Four rotted in prison. And, to be honest, I’m a little disappointed in Nike that they used a man who actively and passionately endorsed the crushing of peaceful rebellion by the state to sell their trainers.

I was wondering if any of your readers could name any other recording artistes who used the platform offered to them through their fame to endorse repression and institutional bigotry on such a grandiose level?

  1. Irkforce
    January 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm


  2. TM
    January 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Other than an old Master Ace song samples him, he’s the most overrated musician since Bob Dylan.

  3. pja
    February 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    can you offer got a link/ directions to the simon reynolds interview in question? all i can get from a search are google books previews of, or blogspot “deleted scenes” from, two of his bloody awful books

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