Early Signs of Spring

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February 23, 2014 — The weather today is beautiful.  The temp is expected to rise to 70 but later this week it’s going to be cold again.  Already, I have noticed the flowers in the yard are starting to pop up.  The trees are getting those little red bulbs on them, the start of new leaves.  At the edges of the yard, the grass is getting a little greener and me, well, I’m getting that feeling.  You know, that feeling where you want to spend more time outside.  When you find reasons to leave the house, even if it’s just to ride to the store down the street to buy a soda or juice.  I guess I am like the trees, during the winter, I am inside not wanting to go anywhere.  But as soon as it gets warm, I break out and spend most of my time in the park. 

I can’t wait to see the flowers bloom between the hedges, to see what color shows up this year.  The crepe myrtle trees in front of my house blooms, the azalea bushes come out in colors of yellow, pink, and  dark pink.  I love the spring, but there is one thing that kind of eeks me out, worms!  I can really do without them and if they can stay hidden until they get there wings, it would be greatly appreciated.  Happy planting, everyone!

GIL SCOTT-HERON

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Some time ago, I read the article about the passing of Gil Scott-Heron.  I remember thinking that I didn’t recognize that name or knew of any of his music.  Well, last night on the program “UNSUNG”, they did an indept look into his life.  Snippets of his music was played throughout this program and one in particular was recognizable to me, “The Bottle”, released in1974.  I remember grooving to the piece, but as we all know back then and at the age of 14, the artist wasn’t that important.

Gil Scott-Heron, was very innovative with his music.  He was well intuned with the happenings in the Black community.  He was concerned about the lives of African-Americans and what was happening in the ghettos and how society treated and looked at us.  Back when his music was being played, I was still quite young and in my community, there really weren’t any socially conscious people.  Everyone looked out for their own and paid attention only to what was happening in their own home.  Mr. Scott-Heron’s music takes me back to those times and wish I was a little more aware of the plight of African-Americans at that time.  Sometimes, when we are not close to where things are happening, we have a tendency to think it’s not happening to us.  In little ways, it was happening to us but we did not really see it or wanted to see it.  We would go on with our lives, raising our children in a way that was almost parrellel to what  white society dictated.

Listening to Mr. Scott-Heron’s music, you can listen two different ways.  The lyrics are heart felt and true to what was happening at that time, it made you think.  He wrote several books, “The Vulture”, which he wrote at 19, a book of verse, “Small Talk at 125th and Lenox”, and ” The Nigger Factory”.  He partnered with a friend, Brian Jackson, to write music and produced his first album, “Small Talk at 125th and Lenox”, released in 1970.   The piece “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” was featured on this album.  Between 1970 and 1980, Scott-Heron recorded 13 albums.  He later signed with Clive Davis at Arista Records in 1974. Gil Scott-Heron was called “godfather of rap”, a term he did not like. He often said he was a “bluesologist”.  Many of his songs were being sampled my artists like Kanye West.  The lyrics to “Whitey On The Moon”, made you question the Space Program.  Here you have people here not being able to pay their bills, feed their children, or maintain a place to live but they spend millions of dollars to send someone to the moon.

His music began to fade in the mid 1980’s as he struggled with drug addiction, that later led to the use of crack.  He spent time at Rikers Island in New York for cocaine possession, twice.  Because of his addiction, he would spend a lot of time alone in his apartment.  When he would disappear, he could be found in his apartment sleeping off the effects of smoking.  A small torch could be found lying beside him on the floor while he would sit and watch old fight movies with his friend, Miss Mimi.  His music represented the anger he felt towards the country and society.  He was loud and uncompromising.  His words will forever tell the story of the struggles in the Black community.  Although, some things have changed since his early work came out, some remain the same.