In an relatively recent interview Gil stated that the poem’s message that a mental or internal awakening is required before you can have social or political change.
But of course, I know better than Gil; so Imma tell you what he really meant. LoL.
TRWNBT was first a mockery of the petty consumerism and celebrity culture that had engulfed the Black community after the subversion of the Black Liberation Movement in the 50s and 60s.
In the 70s people started talking shit about it no longer being a “Black and White thing, it’s all about the Green.” Black folks had won many concessions, the Revolutionaries were assassinated, incarcerated, or exiled; and Black folk were more concerned about whether “Dick finally got down with Jane on Search for Tomorrow,” than they were concerned about their freedom.
Gil was asserting that the Revolution ain’t about what you see on TV, or the shit they sell you on the TV. The Revolution will be in the streets.
TRWNBT was a poetic line in the sand, to determine who was still down and who sold-out in my summation.
But, it’s poetry, so it’s open to interpretation; so I’m sure you are likely to get a different response to your question for each person who attempts to answer it.
Anyway, Long Live Gil Scott-Heron and his Words and Wisdom; oh and shout out to his long time collaborator Brian Jackson.