BHM 2020: (Black) His-Story, By: Gil Scott-Heron

Today is the last day of Black History Month but that does not mean it is the last day to learn about or share Black History. Black history is popping around here 24/7/365 (or 366, shout out to the Egyptians for creating #LeapDay)

Did you know that Gil Scott-Heron is your favorite rapper’s rapper? The problem is that your favorite rapper doesn’t even know this because they may be unaware that Gil Scott-Heron is one of the pioneers of rap.

Gil Scott-Heron was a poet, jazz singer-songwriter, author and an oral word performer who fused poetry with blues, jazz, and soul, giving birth the the early rap movement.

In the video below, Heron is sharing the His-tory of World History. I felt it was fitting to end Black History Month with…no?


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by: Gil Scott-Heron

I was wondering about our yesterdays, and started searching through the rubble
and to say the very least, somebody went to a lot of trouble
to make sure that when we looked things up, we wouldn’t fair too well
and that we would come up with unreliable portraits of ourselves.

But I compiled what few facts I could,
I mean, such as they are
to see if I could shed a little bit of light
and this is what I got so far:

First, white folks discovered Africa
and they claimed it fair and square.
Sir Rhodes couldn’t have been robbing nobody
’cause he said “hell, there wasn’t nobody there”.

White folks brought all the civilization,
they said “wasn’t none around”.
Because, ‘how could these folks be “civilized”?
when they didn’t see nobody writing nothing down.

And just to prove all their suspicions,
well, it didn’t take too long.
They found out there were whole groups of people
in plain sight
running around without much clothes on.

There were women, and men, and young folks and old folks
well, righteous white folks covered their eyes.
And no time was spent considering the environment.
They said: Hell no, this here, this just ain’t “civilized”!

And another way they knew the folks were backwards,
or at least this how we were taught
is that ‘unlike the very civilized people of Europe’
these Black groups actually fought!

And yes, there were some “crude implements”
and yes, there was “primitive art”
and yes they were masters of hunting and fishing
and courtesy came from the heart.

And yes there was medicine, love and religion,
inter-tribal communication by drum.
But no paper and pencils and other utensils

Hell, these folks never even heard of a gun.

So this is why the colonies came
to stabilize the land.
Because The Dark Continent had copper, diamonds and gold
and the discoverer’s had themselves a plan.

They would “discover” all the places with promise.
You didn’t need no titles or deeds.
And then they would appoint people to make everything legal,
to sanction the trickery and greed.

And out in the bushes if the natives got restless
You could call that ‘guerilla (gorilla) attack!’
and you never describe that somebody got wise
and decided they were going to fight back.

But still we are victims of word games,
semantics is always a bitch.
Places once called under-developed and “backwards”
we now called them “mineral rich.”

And still it seems the game goes on,
with unity always just beyond our reach
Libya and Egypt used to be in Africa,
but they’ve been moved to the “Middle East”.

There are examples galore I assure you,
but if interpreting was left up to me
I’d make sure every time folks knew this version wasn’t mine
which is why it is called “His story”.