Monday, 22 July 2019

and whitey’s on the moon

While the achievements of Apollo 11 were universally awing and captivating, for those in America who were politically and civilly disenfranchised and marginalised, people were left wondering why such focus and resources weren’t also being committed to bring about social justice and eliminate inequality. This led influential jazz musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron (*1949 – †2011)—best remembered for his essay “The Revolution will not be Televised”—to compose “Whitey on the Moon” in the following year.  Though there’s no evidence for a connection of any kind, the opening cadence makes me think a little bit of the 1979 song from The Police, “Walking on the Moon.”

I can’t pay no doctor bill. 
(but Whitey’s on the moon) 
Ten years from now I’ll be paying still. 
(while Whitey’s on the moon)