Gil Scott-Heron died Friday afternoon in New York, his book publisher reported. He was 62. The influential poet and musician is often credited with being one of the progenitors of hip-hop, and is best known for the spoken-word piece “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-1982) is recognized as one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz. He was one of the architects of bebop and his impact as a composer and pianist has had a profound influence on every genre of music.
At one point in time, the island of Haiti was jointly owned by Spain and France, each claiming one half of the island as its colony. The climate there proved ideal for the growing of sugar cane, and soon the white people established large plantations. Originally, they utilized the forced labor of the natives. But these native peoples were soon wiped out by the new diseases unintentionally brought by the French and Spanish.
Ruby Dee was born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, Marshall Edward Wallace, was a porter and waiter on the Pennsylvania Railroad; her mother, Emma Wallace, was a schoolteacher. They moved to Harlem in New York City when Ruby was a baby. She was educated at Public School 119 and Hunter College, and her formal education was supplemented by instruction in classical literature and music at home.
In his most famous words, “fight like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” Muhammad Ali became one of the greatest boxers in world history. With no other fighter before him as heavily promoted, he had the attitude, spunk, and rhymes to create hot anticipation even before he stepped into the ring.
One day, Mary McLeod was playing with another little girl, a white girl. When Mary picked up a book, the child took it away from her. She said that African Americans like Mary could not read! Mary never forgot what happened that day. As she grew up, she realized that if African Americans wanted to change their lives, education was the key.
“The talents of an artist, small or great, are God given. They’ve nothing to do with him as a private person; they’re nothing to be proud of. They’re just a sacred trust… Having been given, I must give. Man shall not live by bread alone, and what the farmer does I must do. I must feed the people—with my songs.”
Known for his amazing guitar style and boisterous antics on stage, Jimi Hendrix was to become the focal point of Woodstock and arguably, the best electric guitar player the world has ever heard. Born into poverty, Jimi did not have an easy life growing up. His parents divorced when he was young and his mother died when he was in his teens.
Living in Jamaica the first twenty years of my life has taught me respect for my elders, the beauty of nature, and the expectation of a better life and a more caring world. As I traveled to England in the late fifties and went through a transformation from a warm people and climate to a cold and racist country, I was compelled to fight discrimination and racism. My ten years of residing in England ended in 1965, the year I came to Canada.
Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley (February 6, 1945 – May 11, 1981) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the ska, rocksteady and reggae bands The Wailers (1964–1974) and Bob Marley & The Wailers (1974–1981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited for helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience.