Gil Scott-Heron – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (1970)

September 15, 2008 at 1:24 pm (Poetry & Literature)

You will not be able to stay home, brother
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary

The revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts
The revolution will not be televised

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction
will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised

There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth
The revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be right back
after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl
The revolution will not go better with Coke
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

Gil Scott-Heron

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