Watch Gil Scott-Heron in “Black Wax”

Gil Scott-Heron, who died yesterday at the age of 62, is best known for the spoken-word single “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” His influence on black culture, political poetry and music is tremendous, but what about documentary film? Well the title of his most famous track has been borrowed for the title of one prominent non-fiction film: Kim Bartley and Donnacha O’Briain’s 2003 film on Hugo Chavez, which unintentionally/fortuitously documented the attempted coup in 2002.

And then there is Robert Mugge’s “Black Wax,” a 1983 music doc focused on Scott-Heron as he performs in and walks around D.C. and hangs out with wax figures of political and historical figures. You can’t rent it from Netflix as it appears to be out of print, with new DVDs selling for about $80 on Amazon — VHS copies are only $3, though. There are at least a few clips here and there on the web, one of which — I think it’s the beginning — you can check out after the jump.

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Scott-Heron also narrates Max Robinson’s “Salmagundi,” a film about what it means to be an American. That’s available to rent on Amazon video. He appears in a making of doc about the behind the scenes of recording the anti-apartheid song “Sun City.” That film is called “Sun City: Artists United Against Apartheid.” And he’s in the Melvin van Peebles profile “How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (And Enjoy It),” “Ursula Rucker: Poet” and the hip-hop history documentary “5 Sides of a Coin,” the trailer for which is below:

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Rest in Peace, Gil Scott-Heron.

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About Christopher Campbell
I am a blogger for Documentary Channel and Movies.com, where I write the Doc Talk column. I prefer real stories to fake ones. I tweet here: @thefilmcynic

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