WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised


When I was a little girl, around the time I was still playing with dolls in the 60’s, I heard something that changed my life forever.  It was The Last Poets singing “When the revolution comes — When the revolution comes — When the revolution comes some of us will probably catch it on TV, with chicken hanging from our mouths. You’ll know its revolution cause there won’t be no commercials — When the revolution comes….

I heard them singing, When the revolution comes Jesus Christ is gonna be standing on the corner of Lennox Ave and 125th St trying to catch the first gypsy cab out of Harlem, when the revolution comes . . . .

Hearing this as a ten-year old gave me a lot of anxiety about whether I was on the right path, whether I was doing the right thing, whether I was wasting my time, whether I was just going through the motions because there was something called the revolution – and according to The Last Poets we wouldn’t be ready for it.

When the revolution came, I didn’t want to be playing with Barbie, watching Mission Impossible and I Dream of Genie – when the revolution came, I didn’t want to be stuck in the playground of a half-hearted attempt to be all that I could be, when the revolution came.

But I had a problem you see – I didn’t know what the revolution was.  What exactly did it look like?  When exactly was it coming?  Because, you see, I wanted to be ready.

No one ever really explained until 1970 when Gil Scott-Heron sang “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

Gil Scott Heron sang:

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions. . . .
The revolution will not be televised.

Gil Scott told us what the revolution would not be so we could figure out what it was.  He gave us something catchy, something we could sing to, clap to, snap our fingers and maybe even dance to – This poet – ahead of his time – this street philosopher – rap seed planter – hip hop necromancer and blues-ologist said:

The revolution will not be brought to you by the Schaefer Award Theatre
and will not star Natalie Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner,
because the revolution will not be televised.

And some of us went through high school and college and even post-graduate school humming the same tune – all but completely forgetting about our pledge – our commitment – our fight for something more – somethan better – somethan soooo big and soooo magnanimous that we didn’t even have a definition for it – just Gil Scott Heron crooning and us remembering:

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be right back after a message. . . .
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run  —
The revolution will be live.

But Gil Scott Heron died last Friday – after carrying his cross for so long – after suffering from crack cocaine addiction and AIDs and trying to find the center of this circumference that we call life and oozing into and out of a reality that vaguely looked familiar – this poet prophet, this word anointer, this be bop, hip hop, rap art rhythm saint of jazz beats – who stood on the sidelines watching as we remembered but were never brave enough or clever enough to go between the lines and acknowledge who we are.

Was he that part of us that always failed to listen – that always failed to be as incredible and courageous and out-of-the box as we could be?  Did he give up the ghost to a tune that keeps singing in us – now even more – forcing us to ask ourselves what is the revolution – and why does Gil Scott’s life even linger as a living witness to it?

Jeremiah said the word of God came to him, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:1-4)

Like Jeremiah, Gil Scott took his appointment seriously.  On the one hand, he said laugh at your own foolishness – and on the other, he said make a difference.  Gil Scott  said: “If someone comes to you and asks for help, and you can help them, you’re supposed to help them. Why wouldn’t you? You have been put in the position somehow to be able to help this person.”   The revolution will not be televised.

Jesus – one of the world’s greatest revolutionaries – who stood in defiance to tradition and custom and dared to challenge the status quo for what he believed was right said the same thing “love one another.” (John 13:34-35)  The revolution will not be televised.

Long before Jesus, Moses said love thy neighbor as thyself – and he was a revolutionary.

Mohammad said “No one is a believer until he loves for his neighbor, and for his brother, what he loves for himself”
and he was a revolutionary.

Taotists and Hindus and Buddhists and Natives all say be love agents for each other because they know that is the most revolutionary thought there is.

We can’t talk about the outside until we get the inside straight.  We want to sanctified and saved to be better than posers and false prophets.  We want to dig deep for revelation realizing the revolution will not be televised because it exists inside of us.

In Romans 12:2, Paul said “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

The revolution will not be televised; it won’t be a reality show; it won’t be the latest gossip about who’s smushing who.  The revolution won’t be Prada — carrying Louis Vuitton, or wearing Jimmy Choo’s; it won’t be on Playstation 3 or Xbox 360; it won’t be singing on American Idol singing or Dancing with the Stars; it won’t be getting fired from anybody’s apprentice; it won’t be on the wheel of anybody’s fortune – nor will it be anyone’s good wife.

The revolution will not be televised because it is the ceaseless stirrings of divine ideas that make this world a better place – not just for a few of us but for all of us.

The revolution will not compromise.  The revolution will not bend over backwards.  The revolution will not pretend to be second best.

The revolution is cataclysmic activity that catapults us from the material and the physical and the flesh – to the divine appointment of our souls.

The revolution will be the healing balm, the burning bush, the living water.  The revolution will be able to walk through the fire, cut to the chaise, stand to the test – and rise to any occasion.

The revolution you see is that thing in us that never loses, never misses, and never ever falters.

The revolution is the realization that God is us — each and every breath that we breathe — each and every step that we make – each and every idea that we have; each and every corner of life that we take up.

The revolution is our season and that season rains and pours and stirs and blossoms and welds and builds and grows
and lives in us.

The revolution is knowing that what Gwendolyn Brooks said about Gil Scott-Heron is true for us too – that we must be Chance-takers, Emotion voyagers, Street-strutters, New Spirits, Untamed Poets, Rough Healers – and she says “He is His.”  She is
Hers.  We must be our own. 

We must know the God in us – well enough to be our own.

We must realize the connection in us to the sacred and the magnificent and the divine is our own.

So what are you waiting for?
The revolution will not be televised.
You are yours right now — and the Holy Spirit is in you.
All you have to do is claim it.


Reverend Cecilia Loving

About SPIRITMUV:  Spiritmuv® is a trans-denominational church, which means that it transcends the confines of religion and teaches unconditional love for one another regardless of race, creed, culture, or
religion.   At the heart of its teachings is what Jesus taught — that we love one another, as well as the community that Mahatma Gandhi inspired when he said, “I am a Christian and a Muslim and a Hindu and a Jew.”  Reverend Cecilia Loving is the founder and creator of Spiritmuv, which was formed in 2007.  Services are held for an hour every Sunday, from 2:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. at the Unity Center of NYC, located at 213 West 58th Street.

Rev. Loving, author of God is a Brown Girl Too and Prayers for Those Standing in the Edge of Greatness, is the sole owner, creator and administrator of God is a Brown Girl Too®, which holds annual retreats and workshops.

© 2011 by Cecilia B. Loving

None of the content herein may be copied or otherwise used except with Reverend Loving’s written permission.

 Join the Spiritmuv  Community at www.Spiritmuv.ning.com .

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