Remembering Gil Scott-Heron’s poem on the 40th anniversary of “Whitey on the Moon”

This week there has been much talk about the 40th anniversary of U.S. imperialism sending white men on the moon. Of course, in the midst of this celebration, the conditions for Africans in the U.S. and around the world only worsen as imperialism attempts to solve its crisis by deepening its parasitic theft form Africa and African people.

In the face of all of this discussion about U.S. imperialism’s going to the moon, one cannot help but remember the poem “Whitey on the Moon” by Gil Scott-Heron that spoke to the contrast between imperialist white power sending white men to the moon while it imposed poverty and oppression for Africans right here on earth. Here’s the poem below:

Whitey on the Moon

A rat done bit my sister Nell

with Whitey on the moon.

Her face and arms began to swell

and Whitey’s on the moon.

I can’t pay no doctor bills

but Whitey’s on the moon.

Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still

while Whitey’s on the moon.

You know, the man just upped my rent last night

’cause Whitey’s on the moon.

No hot water, no toilets, no lights

but Whitey’s on the moon.

I wonder why he’s uppin’ me?

’cause Whitey’s on the moon?

Well I was already givin’ ‘im fifty a week

and now Whitey’s on the moon.

Taxes takin’ my whole damn check,

The junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck,

The price of food is goin’ up,

And as if all that crap wasn’t enough,

A rat done bit my sister Nell

with Whitey on the moon.

Her face and arms began to swell

and Whitey’s on the moon.

With all that money I made last year

for Whitey on the moon.

How come I ain’t got no money here?

Hmm! Whitey’s on the moon.

You know I just about had my fill

of Whitey on the moon.

I think I’ll send these doctor bills,

Airmail special

to Whitey on the moon.


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