Music composer, educator, and dazzling jazz artist Wynton Marsalis is doubtless the next whipping boy about to be hounded and punished by the left. This is because he articulates a sensible and cerebral perspective on the race issue in America and refuses to buy into the empty racist narrative of the uber-left.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center spoke on the Cape Up podcast with Jonathan Capehart and pretty much let it rip. Despite attempts by Capehart, Marsalis refused to be goaded into saying that incidents at Starbucks and Waffle Houses are at the heart of the race problem in America. Nor was he willing to call President Trump a racist. “I think we have deep-rooted problems that have nothing to do with those little instances,” Marsalis gently reminded his interviewer, “the sad part of racism hasn’t got anything to do with the guys in the Starbucks or President Trump.”
This jazz man does not dabble in the minutia but rather has a sense of the macro picture when discussing race in America, “The sad thing is how the education system has been hijacked. We’ve lost the grip on morality in the black community…using pornography and profanity and addressing ourselves in the lowest most disrespectful form.”
Then he asked a pertinent rhetorical question, “Before Trump were all these racial problems alleviated during Obama’s years?” Marsalis referred to himself as “not a party-liner,” and opined, “that’s just not my vibe.” I think people’s lives are too serious to waste on the party line. And when you look at the trajectory of our country since the civil rights movement, you see the direction that we have been going in. And there’s no saints and sinners. It’s a national problem and a problem of identity.”
Which is worse?
Without so much as missing a beat, Mr. Marsalis went on to chastise the Rappers for the part that they play in racism today. In a stream of consciousness, he averred, “I started saying in 1985, I don’t think we should have music talking about niggers and bitches and ho’s,” then he pounded it home, “to me that’s more damaging than a statue of Robert E. Lee.”:
“Do you like what it’s yielding? Something is wrong with your head if you like what all this is yielding. It’s like adults left the room or something. I don’t need you to give me a videotape of what you’re doing in the bedroom with your wife, so we can sit up and show the kids. We don’t need to see that. We need to measure what we’re doing and what affect it’s had.”
Unhappy with Marsalis’s circumspect approach to race, Capehart barreled ahead with, “What responsibility then do white people have for the racial conundrum that we’re in? Marsalis shot back with, “We all have a responsibility.” The jazz great then went on to assert that he is just as responsible to some white kid that comes to study with him as he is the black kids.
Nevertheless, Capehart continued to try and provoke the musician, but Marsalis refused to budge. He doesn’t buy into the leftist victimhood storyline regarding crime saying that people break the law where they are, and that’s why most criminality is black on black or white on white. “A part of life is dealing with difficulty and being adult about it and mature and trying to affect change in a positive way and not stop it at the point of pain.” Then he took a page out of the conservative handbook by saying that it’s the lack of economic opportunity that makes people commit these crimes.
Amen and amen.
Even the shallowness of the interviewer couldn’t stop Marsalis from issuing a few words of wisdom: “People also are not forced to accept your point of view, and I actually applaud freedom.”
Now there’s a profound axiom for you. I say a round of applause goes to Winton Marsalis, not merely for his music but for what he believes, how he thinks and what he says.