Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yes, this post IS on education


The soldier up above is teaching kids American style in Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Maybe Yemen. Wherever.

It's one of the photos a guy named ribeye280 used in video he put together to back up Gil Scott-Heron's protest rap "Work for Peace." That song was released in 1994, but it's not outdated. We're still teaching kids the same way. In fact, compared to other methodologies used in American education, this kind's lasted way longer than most.

It's about that time in the year when I get to talk about whatever I think the kids need to know about the music people have been listening to in the past sixty years. Mostly it means the industry of music-making from Motown to hip-hop, but I'm not going to stint on protest music, because boy, do we still need it.

Gil Scott-Heron, the acknowledged father of political rap, wrote "The Revolution will not be televised" back in 1970 and "Work for peace" 24 years later. He's a good place to start if I want to really educate my students.

Take the refrain:
The military and the monetary,
The military and the monetary,
The military and the monetary,
They get together whenever they think it's necessary.
Durability, that's what I like in my music. Music that stays relevant.

Music that lasts for decades, and speaks to the very core of American values.





4 comments:

Ms. Havisham said...

We must have led parallel musical lives back then...I was wild about Gil Scott-Heron when he was being played only on WRVR, our late great NYC jazz station, in the early '70's. I was a fan of not only "The Revolution Will Not be Televised", but also his song-poem, "Winter in America":

From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrims
And to the buffalo who once ruled the plains
Like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds
Looking for the rain
Looking for the rain

Just like the cities staggered on the coastline
Living in a nation that just can't stand much more
Like the forest buried beneath the highway
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow

And now it's winter
Winter in America
Yes and all of the healers have been killed
Or sent away, yeah
But the people know, the people know
It's winter
Winter in America
And ain't nobody fighting
'Cause nobody knows what to say
Save your soul, Lord knows
From Winter in America

The Constitution
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Struggled but it died in vain
And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner
Hoping for some rain
Looks like it's hoping
Hoping for some rain

And I see the robins
Perched in barren treetops
Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor
But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow

And now it's winter
It's winter in America
And all of the healers have been killed
Or been betrayed
Yeah, but the people know, people know
It's winter, Lord knows
It's winter in America
And ain't nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Winter in America

And now it's winter
Winter in America
And all of the healers done been killed or sent away
Yeah, and the people know, people know
It's winter
Winter in America
And ain't nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
And ain't nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows, nobody knows
And ain't nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save

UnderAssault said...

I was in Europe in the early 70s chasing down Italian MSS, so I missed much of the early political rap here at home. In London they were all into punk and glam rock.

I just listened to the song you sent the lyrics for. (YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGlRsjHTkbs). Love the last two lines, because I'm so reaching that point. Have no idea what to try and save anymore.

Ms. Havisham said...

That was what was appealing to me then and now. London and the rest of Europe must have been a very different scene than America back then since there was no war to protest, and no military-industrial complex to deal with.

Character Education said...

Very informative post and i must say that this is really what we all need to know, this is the real picture of the difference, thanks for posting.