The passing of Gil Scott-Heron on May 27, 2011 prompts reflection. His fusion of blues, jazz and soul combined with clear, concise social commentary is at the core of hip-hop’s roots. The longevity of his career too proves something often ignored – our voices stand as long as we wish to allow. Celebration of the Summer is a typical theme of rap music, we’re here again 20 years after Fresh Prince spit happy-go-lucky bars… and we’ll be here again two decades from now. Scott-Heron’s legacy of activism through words and voice should not be forgotten, and neither should the potential to both entertain and teach in the truest sense simultaneously.
About the Art: Palmer Hayden, Midsummer Night in Harlem (1938). Born in 1890, Hayden received the prestigious Harmon Foundation Prize in 1926 facilitating several years study and training in Paris. He returned to the United States in 1932, finding steady work with the U.S. Treasury Art Project and the Works Progress Administration. Hayden portrayed the African American experience, both rural and urban, painting within that narrative the ups and downs of American life.