[Boycott - Cultural]
Gil Scott Heron - Don't play in Tel Aviv
inminds & Sarah Cobham (indymedia)
18 April 2010
Musician Gil Scott Heron, having previously been an outspoken critic of apartheid South Africa has apparently sold out his principles and is to support racism by performing for apartheid Israel in Tel Aviv on 25th May 2010.
Artists United Against Apartheid - Sun City
Sun City was a grotesque Vegas like gambling resort located in a bantustan at the core of apartheid South Africa - top artists were bribed by huge salaries to come and perform there and thereby help legitimise apartheid South Africa in the international community.
Musician Gil Scott-Heron
Leading performer Steven van Zandt, who parted with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at the height of their success, became interested in writing a song about Sun City to make parallels with the plight of native Americans. The rounding up of blacks in to bantustans - ethnically cleansing the land of blacks to make way for white colonisation - can be seen to be modeled on America's system of Indian reservations. Of course the parallels with what is happening in Palestine today are also all too obvious for all to see - imprisoning Palestinians in to small bantustans by an apartheid wall which is built to separate Palestinains from their land - the land is then stolen for zionist colonisation - illegal "settlements" are expanded, and new ones built to absorb the stolen land.
With the help of journalist Danny Schechter, the idea was to turning the song into a different kind of "We Are the World", or as Schechter explains, "a song about change not charity, freedom not famine." It would educate people about the evils of apartheid and at the same time raise money for the anti-apartheid movement.
With little persuasion around 50 artists including Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr, Lou Reed, Run DMC, Peter Gabriel, Darlene Love, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, Jackson Browne, U2, George Clinton, Rolling Stones members Keith Richards and Ron Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Michael Monroe, Peter Garrett, Joey Ramone and Gil Scott-Heron agreed to participate and "Artists United Against Apartheid" was formed in 1985, they recorded the song "Sun City" and a number of other songs together making up the album Sun City. Scott-Heron helped compose and sing one of those songs - "Let Me See Your I.D.". The artists called for a cultural boycott of South Africa - they vowed never to perform at Sun City, to do so would be an acceptance of apartheid.
The project was hugely successful on several levels - it raised over a million U.S. dollars for anti-apartheid projects and brought awareness about the cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa making it more difficult for other artists to sell out to apartheid.
Gil Scott-Heron - Sold out to apartheid
Gil Scott-Heron's website lists his booking right up to September,
including locations in the UK, Ireland, US and France but none in Israel.
There is gap between May 2 and May 29 but no mention of his Tel Aviv
booking for 25th May. Something to be ashamed about..
or having second thoughts?
src:http://gilscottheron.net/live/ (accessed 17 April 2010)
Having been such an outspoken critic of racism and apartheid it's truly shocking to hear that 25 years on, Gil Scott-Heron has apparently sold out his principles and is to support racism by performing for apartheid Israel - in Tel Aviv on 25th May 2010!
Its interesting that whilst the Israeli press are all jubilantly advertising the concert, after all its a major coup for them, Gil Scott-Heron's own website whilst meticulously listing all his other upcoming performances around the world right up to and including September does not mention the performance in Tel Aviv in May. Clearly it's causing a problem, either he's having second thoughts or is ashamed of it. Either way his fans have picked up on it and are condemning his decision, with dozens of comments left on his website - not a single one supporting the Tel Aviv booking.
Activists need to take action to convince Gil Scott-Heron to cancel his Tel Aviv booking.
Before the performance in Israel he has several booking in the UK:
20th April : Royal Festival Hall, London
21st April : HMV Picture House, Edinburgh
22nd April : The Warehouse, Aberdeen
24th April : Royal Festival Hall, London
25th April : The Manchester Opera House, Manchester
Watch the events lists for details of protests outside. The performances are all sold out, but several people who have tickets are planning to go in with banners and Palestinian Flags.
You can email Gil Scott-Heron via his publishers at firstname.lastname@example.org
And send him messages via his website comments pages (several):
And on his MySpace page:
If Gil Scott-Heron still refuses to cancel his performance in Israel, this will become his legacy - someone who betrayed the oppressed to profit from racism, it will hang around his neck for eternity.
Sample of fan comments left on Gil Scott-Heron's website
Source: www.inminds.co.uk (also http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/04/449275.html)
Gil Scott-Heron to make Israel debut
By David Brinn, Jerusalem Post
17 April 2010
Visionary jazz, blues and soul musician to visit Israel next month.
Called “the black Bob Dylan,” African-American poet, musician and author Gil Scott-Heron will be making his performing debut in Israel on May 25 at Tel Aviv’s Barby club.
Rising to prominence in the 1970s with a fusion of spoken word, jazz, blues and soul focusing social and political issues, the 62-year-old Scott-Heron’s proto-rap style was a forerunner of the hip hop revolution.
In addition to galvanizing a generation of young black Americans with albums like The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Scott-Heron also reached a mainstream audience, performing the anti-nuclear “We Almost Lost Detroit” at the 1979 No Nukes concert in New York with Bruce Springsteen and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Scott-Heron’s career has been sidetracked for many years due to drug addiction and prison sentences, but he’s pushing forward with a new album, I’m New Here, and hoping to recapture some of the energy that made him such a visionary artist.
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Page URL: http://www.inminds.co.uk/article.php?id=10355