Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis didn’t hold back during a new interview in which he discussed the impact rap music has had on the Black community. He believes hip-hop is more damaging to African-Americans than statues of the confederate leaders who fought to preserve slavery.
In a recent interview with journalist Jonathan Capehart on his Cape Up podcast, Marsalis shared that he’s never been fond of the vulgarity some rappers spew on the microphone.
“My words are not that powerful. I started saying in 1985 I don’t think we should have a music talking about ni**ers and b*tches and h*es. It had no impact. I’ve said it. I’ve repeated it. I still repeat it. To me, that’s more damaging than a statue of Robert E. Lee.”
Marsalis assisted New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in removing a statue of the Confederate army commander but still believes hip-hop has more of a negative impact on Black folks.
“I feel that that’s much more of a racial issue than taking Robert E. Lee’s statue down,” he said. “There’s more ni**ers in that than there is in Robert E. Lee’s statue.”
He went on, “It’s just like the toll the minstrel show took on black folks and on white folks. Now, all this ‘ni**er this,’ ‘b*tch that,’ ‘h* that,’ that’s just a fact at this point.
When asked about Kanye West’s latest claims about politics and race, Marsalis dismissed the rapper.
“I would not give seriousness to what he said, in that way. Okay? This guy is making products. It’s not like Martin Luther King said it, a person who knows or is conscious of a certain thing. … [H]e’s entitled to whatever it is he wants to say. The quality of his thought is in the products he makes.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.