Are You Glad To Be In America?

15 February 2011 – 20 April 2011
Massimo De Carlo – Via Giovanni Ventura, 5 – Milan


Last week Massimo De Carlo opened the group show Are You Glad to Be in America? Using the title of the renowned 1980 album by James Blood Ulmer, the group show offers a global view of American society, of its contradictions, culture and symbols.

A selection of fifty song lyrics by afro-american authors joins the exhibited works. Gill Scott-Heron, James Brown, Tupac and Cypress Hill, amongst others, deal with the same issues treated by Jack Goldstein, Glenn Ligon, Robert Longo, Nate Lowman, Steven Parrino, Richard Prince, Kaari Upson and Marianne Vitale in their works.

Here is a selection of the lyrics together with the artworks included in the show.

Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Gill Scott-Heron
The Television Will Not Be Televised (1974)

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.

There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.
Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant,
and women will not care if Dick finally gets
down with Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black
people will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
bbout a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.


Say It Loud
James Brown
A Soulful Christmas (1968)

Uh! With your bad self!

Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud!
Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud!

Some people say we’ve got a lot of malice
Some say it’s a lot of nerve
But I say we won’t quit moving until we get what we deserve
We have been bucked and we have been scorned
We have been treated bad, talked about as just bones
But just as it takes two eyes to make a pair, ha
Brother we can’t quit until we get our share

Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud!
Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud!
One more time!
Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud!

I worked on jobs with my feet and my hand
But all the work I did was for the other man
Now we demand a chance to do things for ourselves
We’re tired of beatin’ our head against the wall
And workin’ for someone else

Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud

We’re people, we’re just like the birds and the bees
We’d rather die on our feet
Than be livin’ on our knees

Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud


Everything Is Gonna Be Alright
Naughty by Nature
Naughty by Nature (1991)


Smooth it out

This is a story about the drifter

Who waited through the worst for the best in crosstown

Who never planned on havin’ so dick

Why me, huh?


Everything’s gonna be alright (alright)

Everything’s gonna be alright (alright)

Everything’s gonna be alright now (alright)

Everything’s gonna be alright (alright)

[Verse 1]

Some get a little and some get none

Some catch a bad one and some leave the job half done

I was one who never had and always mad

Never knew my dad, mother fuck the fag

Where ANYWAY I didN’T pick up, flipped the clip up

Too many stick-ups, ’cause niggas had the trigger hic-ups

I couldn’t get a job, nappy hair was not allowed

My mother couldn’t afford us, she had to throw me out

I walked the strip, WITH THIS HERE clip, who wanna hit?

I had to eat, this money’s good as spent

I’M DOIN’ BRAIDS, I wasn’t paid enough

I kept ‘em long ’cause I couldn’t afford a haircut

I got laughed at, I got chumped, I got dissed

I got upset, I got a Tec and a banana clip

Was down to throw the led to any tellin’ crackhead

I’m still livin’ broke, so a lot of good it would’ve did

Or done, if not for bad luck, I would have none

Why did I have to live a life of such a bad one

Why when I was a kid and played I was a sad one

And always wanted to live like this or that one


[Verse 2]

A ghetto bastard, born next to the projects

Livin’ in the slums with bums, I SAID NOW WHY TREACH

Why do I have to be like this? momma said I’m priceless

So I am all worthless, starved, THATS JUST WHAT BEING NICE GETS

Sometimes I wish I could afford a pistol then, though

TO stop THE hell, I would’ve ended things a while ago

I ain’t have jack but a black hat and napsack

Four squad stolen in cars in a blackjack

Drop that, and now you want me to rap and give?

Say somethin’ positive? Well positive ain’t where I lived

I lived right around a corner from west hell

Two blocks from south shit, it was in a jail cell

The sun never shone on my side of the street, see

And only once or twice a week i would speak

I walked alone, my state of mind was USUALLY home

I couldn’t keep a girl, they wanted kids for cause of chrome

Some life, iF you ain’t wear gold your style was old

And you got more juice than dope for every bottle sold

Hell no, I say there’s gotta be a better way

But hey, never gamble IN THAT game that you can’t play

I’m slowin’ and flowin’ and goin’ in on and knowin’ not now

How will I do it, how will I make it? I won’t, that’s how

Why me, huh?


My third year into adulthood, and still a knucklehead

I’m better off dead, huh, that’s what my neighbor said

I don’t do jack but fightin’, lightin’ up the streets at night

Playin’ hide and seek with a machetti SEEKING Freddy’S WIFE

Some say I’m rollin’ on, nothin’ but a dog now

I answer that with a tech, who wanna bow-wow?

‘Cause I done been through more shit within the last week

Than A fly flowin’ in doo-doo on the concrete

I been a deadbeat, dead to the world and dead wrong

Since I was born that’s my life, oh you don’t know this song?

So don’t say jack, and please don’t say you understand

All that man to man talk CAN JUST WALK DOWN

If you ain’t live you couldn’t feel it, so kill it, skillet

And all that talk about it won’t help it out, now will it?

And illtown fell like I stuck-up props, got shot

Don’t worry, I hit BY A, flurry, and his punk-ass dropped

But I’m the one who has been labeled as an outcast

IN TEACHER’S schools, I’m the misfit CHILD AND outlast

But that’s cool with the bull, smack ‘em backwards

That’s what you get for fuckin’ with a ghetto bastard


If you ain’t ever been to the ghetto

Don’t ever come to the ghetto

‘Cause you ain’t understand the ghetto

And stay the fuck out of the ghetto

Why me?



Fuck Tha Police
Straight Outta Compton (1998)

Right about now NWA court is in full effect.

Judge Dre presiding in the case of NWA versus the police department.

Prosecuting attourneys are MC Ren Ice Cube and Eazy muthafuckin E.

Order order order. Ice Cube take the muthafuckin stand.

Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth

and nothin but the truth so help your black ass?

Why don’t you tell everybody what the fuck you gotta say?

Fuck tha police

Comin straight from the underground

Young nigga got it bad cuz I’m brown

And not the other color so police think

They have the authority to kill a minority

Fuck that shit, cuz I ain’t tha one

For a punk muthafucka with a badge and a gun

To be beatin on, and throwin in jail

We could go toe to toe in the middle of a cell

Fuckin with me cuz I’m a teenager

With a little bit of gold and a pager

Searchin my car, lookin for the product

Thinkin every nigga is sellin narcotics

You’d rather see me in the pen

Then me and Lorenzo rollin in the Benzo

Beat tha police outta shape

And when I’m finished, bring the yellow tape

To tape off the scene of the slaughter

Still can’t swallow bread and water

I don’t know if they fags or what

Search a nigga down and grabbin his nuts

And on the other hand, without a gun they can’t get none

But don’t let it be a black and a white one

Cuz they slam ya down to the street top

Black police showin out for the white cop

Ice Cube will swarm

On any muthafucka in a blue uniform

Just cuz I’m from the CPT, punk police are afraid of me

A young nigga on a warpath

And when I’m finished, it’s gonna be a bloodbath

Of cops, dyin in LA

Yo Dre, I got somethin to say

Fuck the police (4X)

M. C. Ren, will you please give your testimony to the jury about this fucked up incident.

Fuck tha police and Ren said it with authority

because the niggaz on the street is a majority.

A gang, is with whoever I’m stepping

and the motherfuckin’ weapon

is kept in a stash box, for the so-called law

wishin’ Ren was a nigga that they never saw

Lights start flashin behind me

But they’re scared of a nigga so they mace me to blind me

But that shit don’t work, I just laugh

Because it gives em a hint not to step in my path

To the police I’m sayin fuck you punk

Readin my rights and shit, it’s all junk

Pullin out a silly club, so you stand

With a fake assed badge and a gun in your hand

But take off the gun so you can see what’s up

And we’ll go at it punk, I’ma fuck you up

Make ya think I’m a kick your ass

But drop your gat, and Ren’s gonna blast

I’m sneaky as fuck when it comes to crime

But I’m a smoke em now, and not next time

Smoke any muthafucka that sweats me

Or any assho that threatens me

I’m a sniper with a hell of a scope

Takin out a cop or two, they can’t cope with me

The muthafuckin villian that’s mad

With potential to get bad as fuck

So I’m a turn it around

Put in my clip, yo, and this is the sound

Ya, somethin like that, but it all depends on the size of the gat

Takin out a police would make my day

But a nigga like Ren don’t give a fuck to say

Fuck the police (4X)

Police, open now. We have a warrant for Eazy-E’s arrest.

Get down and put your hands up where I can see em.

Just shut the fuck up and get your muthafuckin ass on the floor.


and tell the jury how you feel abou this bullshit.>

I’m tired of the muthafuckin jackin

Sweatin my gang while I’m chillin in the shackin

Shining tha light in my face, and for what

Maybe it’s because I kick so much butt

I kick ass, or maybe cuz I blast

On a stupid assed nigga when I’m playin with the trigga

Of any Uzi or an AK

Cuz the police always got somethin stupid to say

They put up my picture with silence

Cuz my identity by itself causes violence

The E with the criminal behavior

Yeah, I’m a gansta, but still I got flavor

Without a gun and a badge, what do ya got?

A sucka in a uniform waitin to get shot,

By me, or another nigga.

and with a gat it don’t matter if he’s smarter or bigger

[MC Ren: Sidle him, kid, he's from the old school, fool]

And as you all know, E’s here to rule

Whenever I’m rollin, keep lookin in the mirror

And there’s no cue, yo, so I can hear a

Dumb muthafucka with a gun

And if I’m rollin off the 8, he’ll be tha one

That I take out, and then get away

And while I’m drivin off laughin

This is what I’ll say

Fuck the police (4X)

The jury has found you guilty of bein a redneck,

whitebread, chickenshit muthafucka.

Wait, that’s a lie. That’s a goddamn lie.

I want justice! I want justice!

Fuck you, you black muthafucka!>

Fuck the police (3X)


Stankonia (2000)

Verse One (Andre):

Yeah… Intro-national, underground,

Thunder bounce when I stomp the ground, (Whoo!)

Like a million elephants or silverback orangutans,

You can’t stop my train,

Who want some, Don’t come unprepaired,

I’ll be there, but when I leave there,

Better be a house on Maine,

Weatherman tellin’ us it ain’t gon’ rain,

So now we sittin’ in a drop-top soakin’ wet,

In a silk suit, tryin’ not to sweat,

Hittin’ somersaults without the net,

But this’ll be the year that we won’t forget,

One-nine-nine-nine, And around me anything goes,

Be what you wanna be, Long as you know,

Consequenses are given,

For livin’ defensless,

Too hot to jump in jail,

Too low to dig, I might just touch hell, (HOT!)

Get a life, now they on sale,

Then I might catch you a spell, Look at what came in the mail,

A scale and some Arm & Hammer,

Charcoal grill and a baby mamma,

Black Cadillac and a pack of pampers,

Stack of questions, wit’ no answers,

Cure for cancer, cure for AIDS,

Make a nigga wanna stay on tour for days,

Get back home, things are wrong,

Well, not really, it was bad all along,

Fo’ you left assed out to a ball of power,

Lost at a thousand miles per hour,

Hello, ghetto, let yo’ brain’ free,

Believe there’s always mo’… Ooowww!!!


Don’t pull the thang out unless you plan to bang…

Bombs over Baghdad, yeah…

Don’t even bang unless you plan to hit some-thang…

Bombs over Baghdad, yeah…


Verse Two (Big Boi):

Uno, dos, tres, it’s on,

Did ya ever think a pimp rock the microphone,

Like that there, boi, but we still stay street,

Big thangs happen every time we meet,

Like a track team, craft ain’t dyin’ a geek,

Outkast bumpin’ up and down the streets,

Slam back Cadillac, ‘bout five …(Blank)…

75 emcees fresstylin’ to the beat,

‘Cause we get crunk, stay crunk at the club,

Should of bought a ounce, but ya caught the dubs,

Shoulda held back, but ya throwed the punch,

‘Posed to meet ya girl, but ya packed the lunch,

No G-to-the-U-to-the-G fa you,

Got a son on the way by the name of Bamboo,

Got a little baby girl for a year, Jordan,

Never turn my back on my kids for them,

Shoulda hit it… Quit it… Rag top…

Before ya reek up, get a lab… top

Make a business for yourself, boy, sell some golds,

Make a phat diamond outta dust and coal,

Record number four, but we on a roll,

Hold up, slow up, stop, control,

Like Janet, planet, Stankonia, it’s on ya,

Movin’ like Floyd, comin’ straight to Florida,

Block all ya windows and block the corridors,

Pullin’ off my belt ‘cause the women’s in order,

Like three piece fish, boy I cut ya daughter,

Yo quiero Taco Bell, then I hit the border,

Pity pap rapper, tryin’ to get to five,

I’m a microphone fiend, tryin’ to stay alive,

When ya come to ATL, boy, ya bet’ not hide,

‘Cause the Dungeon Family gon’ ride… HAH!


Niggers Are Scared Of The Revolution
The Last Poets
The Last Poets (1970)

Niggers are scared of revolution

But niggers shouldn’t be scared of revolution

Because revolution is nothing but change

And all niggers do is change

Niggers come in from work and change into pimping clothes

and hit the streets to make some quick change

Niggers change their hair from black to red to blond

and hope like hell their looks will change

Nigger kill other niggers

Just because one didn’t receive the correct change

Niggers change from men to women, from women to men

Niggers change, change, change

You hear niggers say

Things are changing? Things are changing?

Yeah, things are changing

Niggers change into ‘Black’ nigger things

Black nigger things that go through all kinds of changes

The change in the day that makes them rant and rave

Black Power! Black Power!

And the change that comes over them at night, as they sigh and moan:

White thighs, ooh, white thighs

Niggers always goin’ through bullshit change

But when it comes for real change,

Niggers are scared of revolution

Niggers are actors, niggers are actors

Niggers act like they are in a hurry

to catch the first act of the ‘Great White Hope’

Niggers try to act like Malcolm

And when the white man doesn’t react

toward them like he did Malcolm

Niggers want to act violently

Niggers act so coooool and slick

causing white people to say:

What makes you niggers act like that?

Niggers act like you ain’t never seen nobody act before

But when it comes to acting out revolution

Niggers say: ‘I can’t dig them actions!’

Niggers are scared of revolution

Niggers are very untogether people

Niggers talk about getting high and riding around in ‘els’

Niggers should get high and ride to hell

Niggers talk about pimping

Pimping that, pimping what

Pimping yours, pimping mine

Just to be pimping, is a helluva line

Niggers are very untogether people

Niggers talk about the mind

Talk about: My mind is stronger than yours

“I got that bitch’s mind uptight!”

Niggers don’t know a damn thing about the mind

Or they’d be right

Niggers are scared of revolution

Niggers fuck. Niggers fuck, fuck, fuck

Niggers love the word fuck

They think it’s so fuckin’ cute

They fuck you around

The first thing they say when they’re mad: ‘Fuck it’

You play a little too much with them

They say ‘Fuck you’

When it’s time to TCB,

Niggers are somewhere fucking

Try to be nice to them, they fuck over you

Niggers don’t realize while they doin’ all this fucking

They’re getting fucked around

And when they do realize it’s too late

So niggers just get fucked up

Niggers talk about fucking

Fuckin’ that, fuckin’ this, fuckin’ yours, fuckin’ my sis

Not knowing what they’re fucking for

They ain’t fucking for love and appreciation

Just fucking to be fucking.

Niggers fuck white thighs, black thighs, yellow thighs, brown thighs

Niggers fuck ankles when they run out of thighs

Niggers fuck Sally, Linda, and Sue

And if you don’t watch out

Niggers will fuck you!

Niggers would fuck ‘Fuck’ if it could be fucked

But when it comes to fucking for revolutionary causes

Niggers say ‘Fuck revolution!’

Niggers are scared of revolution

Niggers are players, niggers are players, are players

Niggers play football, baseball and basketball

while the white man cuttin’ off their balls

When the nigger’s play ain’t tight enough

to play with some black thighs,

Niggers play with white thighs

to see if they still have some play left

And when there ain’t no white thighs to play with

Niggers play with themselves

Niggers tell you they’re ready to be liberated

But when you say ‘Let’s go take our liberation’

Niggers reply: ‘I was just playin’

Niggers are playing with revolution and losing

Niggers are scared of revolution

Niggers do a lot of shootin’

Niggers do a lot of shootin’

Niggers shoot off at the mouth

Niggers shoot pool, niggers shoot craps

Niggers cut around the corner and shoot down the street

Niggers shoot sharp glances at white women

Niggers shoot dope into their arm

Niggers shoot guns and rifles on New Year’s Eve

A new year that is coming in

The white police will do more shooting at them

Where are niggers when the revolution needs some shots!?

Yeah, you know. Niggers are somewhere shootin’ the shit

Niggers are scared of revolution

Niggers are lovers, niggers are lovers are lovers

Niggers love to see Clark Gable

make love to Marilyn Monroe

Niggers love to see Tarzan fuck all the natives

Niggers love to hear the Lone Ranger yell “Heigh Ho Silver!”

Niggers love commercials, niggers love commercials

Oh how niggers love commercials:

“You can take niggers out of the country, but

you can’t take the country out of niggers”

Niggers are lovers, are lovers, are lovers

Niggers loved to hear Malcolm rap

But they didn’t love Malcolm

Niggers love everything but themselves

But I’m a lover too, yes I’m a lover too

I love niggers, I love niggers, I love niggers

Because niggers are me

And I should only love that which is me

I love to see niggers go through changes

Love to see niggers act

Love to see niggers make them plays and shoot the shit


Marianne Vitale
Barn Again (per Milano), 2011
Legname di recupero
185.42 x 248.98 x 271.78 cm

Glenn Ligon
The Period, 2005
Installazione neon
20 x 154 cm

Richard Price
Cowboys, 1992
Stampa C-print
101.6 x 70.5 cm

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2011
Fumo su alluminio
300 x 150 cm

Jack Goldstein
Untitled, 1983
Acrilico su tela
243 x 335 cm

Robert Longo
Untitled (Bodyhammer: Berreta), 2008
Carboncino su carta intelaiata
243.8 x 122 cm

Nate Lowman
Black Tow Truck Broom, 2010
Acciaio, vernice, ruggine
208.28 x 213.36 x 60.96 cm

Steven Parrino
Warped Hole, 1992
Alluminio su tela
262 x 282 cm

All images – Courtesy Galleria Massimo De Carlo