In an interview with The Washington Post podcast Cape Up, distinguished jazz musician and famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis discussed his deep aversion to hip-hop and rap music, claiming the genres are more harmful to society than some confederate statues. “I don’t think we should have a music talking about n***ers and bitches and hoes. 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 said.
That’s not to say he doesn’t think confederate statues are harmful. In fact, he played an instrumental role in the removal of confederate statues in New Orleans last year. But Marsalis argues that rap and hip-hop have a more negative impact on black people in America today. “I feel that that’s much more of a racial issue than taking Robert E. Lee’s statue down,” Marsalis told the Post. “There’s more n***rs in that than there is in Robert E. Lee’s statue.”
According to the Post, Marsalis was the first jazz musician to win a Pulitzer Prize for music. He did so in 1997 with his composition titled “Blood on the Fields,” a meditation on slavery. In his long career, Marsalis has made countless other titles that tackle racial issues with jazz music.
“You can’t have a pipeline of filth be your default position,” Marsalis said of rap and hip-hop. “It’s just like the toll the minstrel show took on black folks and on white folks. Now, all this ‘n***er this,’ ‘bitch that,’ ‘ho that,’ that’s just a fact at this point. For me, it was not a default position in the '80s. Now that it is the default position, how you like me now? You like what it’s yielding? Something is wrong with you—you need your head examined if you like this.”