payback press

 

The Nigger Factory

Renown poet, writer and musician (check his wonderful "Spirits" album), Gil Scott-Heron is best known to the hip hop nation for his statement ‘the revolution will not be televised’. It was this political militancy that inspired the likes of Public Enemy and other conscious rappers. But Scott’s indirect influence on hip hop goes even further with him being an artists, just like the Last Poets were, that pioneered paths, that later were used for the progression of hip hop. And this might be something that can draw the hip hop crowd's attention to Scott’s work.

The book was first published in 1972 and is staged on the campus of Sutten University in Virginia. Unhappy with schools politics, a Black Panther like, African pride, militant organization called Mjumbe challenges the dean and his slow politics with handing him a list of request, or as the dean puts it: demands. The story’s main character has to be Earl Thomas though. As president of the student council, who suddenly is caught between a rock and a hard place, facing a take over of Mjumbe, tje responsibilities he has for the student body that elected him and trying to prevent things from getting out of hand, what they eventually do.

The easy read this book is, and the steady flow that pushes the story forward, it’s not that easy to digest. It not only brought back memories of this reviewers past of his time as a secretary (minister) of the student council, it will also have all present, past and future students rethink their education position.

And that’s only part of what makes this book so interesting, even to those that never had to do with college at all. But for those that are in one of the higher learning institutions, this book will read like an article in a students newspaper. Stripped down to the bare essentials, only small scenes are drawn, that not directly carry the plot. These few pages are like a glimpse into the private lives of the main characters, their desires, weaknesses and strengths. Sharing these personal moments with the reader, gives him the possibility to identify with the main student characters and this disentangles the web of three sides fighting against each other.

The revolution will not be televised. There might be a book about it though.

review by tadah

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