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Gil Scott Heron’s ‘Black Wax’ (1982)

DM

Part live concert, part political commentary, all poetry. Black Wax is a portrait of the great Gil Scott-Heron in 1982, at the peak of his powers. With Robert Mugge (who directed many music docs including the fantastic Sun Ra film, A Joyful Noise) behind the camera, we follow Scott-Heron on an honest tour of Washington D.C. as he conducts a series of political bits in a wax museum with “Ray Gun” and “Oatmeal Man.” There are plenty of musical segments as well including an especially powerful rendition of Scott-Heron’s “B Movie,” a scathing profile of the presidency of Ronald Reagan, which draws many parallels to our situation today, especially with statements like “We don’t have a real president in the White House”…

Politics may be the focus of the film, as with most of Scott-Heron’s work, but Black Wax also provides us a closer look at the man himself. His talent, intelligence, and kind heart are on full display here and nothing really beats watching Scott-Heron stroll through D.C., boombox in hand, singing along to the music.

Stream the full film below:

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