For Salon, A.D. Carson (Assistant Professor of Hip-Hop and the Global South for University of Virginia) wrote about Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘Whitey on the Moon’ and its relevance to a new space age dominated by Sir Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk:
[…] It is a time in which the “whitey” in Scott-Heron’s poem could be any of the three billionaires who are the faces of the current space race, which is taking place in an era of profound inequity that helped them become billionaires in the first place.
There are tons of examples of earthly “Sister Nells” who have been and are currently being bitten by rats on Earth while rich white men are taking tourism to the heavenly skies.
I believe that people, more or less, feel that the song points out the kind of inequity that lies at the heart of the ability to amass exorbitant wealth that affords the likes of Branson, Bezos and Musk the privilege to be the first space tourists.
I’d prefer if these guys went up into space and never came back. But physics doesn’t always work that way.