What can I say about this man? The very thought of him is enough to make me feel a certain zeal for mankind, for being able to claim him as ours, somehow. He's the flawed, fallible hero who sinks to depths others have yet to accept –– if only to rise above them and relay his findings. And his story is our country's collective, sometimes forgotten, and all-too-often ignored one.
This gifted, educated man might have been told by his surroundings and experiences that he's not meant to be the one who will embrace the ghetto, but he adopted and held it like his own child. He took the responsibility others would have resisted. He'd denounce its weaknesses while he lived them. He became addicted to its drugs, but this is a man I would excuse even the greatest weakness because he is honest. A king of conscience who has lived in such a raw state of acute consciousness, it is understandable he'd require some level of escape. Because he's always so present and aware.
I have nothing at all to do with the experiences he's put forth in his music, but Gil Scott Heron is my hero.