Music pioneer and poet Gil Scott-Heron, known for hits such as 1971’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and who was HIV positive when he died at age 62 in 2011, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, reports Billboard.
Artists become eligible 25 years after their first commercial recordings; the induction ceremony will take place October 30. Also in the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class are Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, Jay-Z, Carole King, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner, LL Cool J and others.
Scott-Heron was inducted under the “early influence award” category. His style melded spoken-word poetry, jazz and soul with urban sounds. He influenced rap and hip hop to such a degree that he became known as “the Godfather of Rap,” a nickname he disavowed, preferring instead to refer to his musical style as “bluesology.”
He was open about his drug use—often writing and singing about the topic—and in 2008, Scott-Heron told New York magazine that he had been living with HIV for years. In a 2010 profile in Entertainment Weekly, he elaborated, saying that in between two prison terms he served, he received a call from an ex-girlfriend who informed him she was HIV positive and he needed to get tested. He did, and the results were positive.
After a long absence from the music scene, he released an album in 2009. The BBC caught up with him at the time; you can watch the two-part interview, including a summary of his career, in the videos above and below.
To read about other artists and celebrities living with HIV—including Magic Johnson, Freddie Mercury and Elton John—click #Celebrities.
Did you know that HIV is transmitted through six different bodily fluids? They are:
- Rectal fluids
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk.
There are several ways this can happen:
- From condomless vaginal/frontal or anal sex with someone who has HIV, while not using a condom or not using medicines to prevent (pre-exposure prophylaxis, [PrEP] or post-exposure prophylaxis [PEP]) or treat HIV (treatment as prevention [TasP]).
- From sharing needles, syringes or other injection equipment with someone who has HIV, while not using PrEP.
- From mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. However, if the mother is in regular care and on HIV treatment, this risk is reduced to nearly zero.
- From being stuck with a needle or cut with a sharp object that contains HIV-positive blood. This is mostly a risk for health care workers.
- From getting a blood transfusion. However, this risk is rare in the United States.