Quincy Jones has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind.
When asked if he had ever worked with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Jones said, “No. I wouldn’t work with him.”
“I was writing for [orchestra leader] Tommy Dorsey, oh God, back then in the ’50s. And Elvis came in, and Tommy said, ‘I don’t want to play with him.’ He was a racist motherf—er. I’m going to shut up now,” Jones added.
Jones went on to discuss other instances of racism he experienced in Hollywood over the course of his career.
“They didn’t use Black composers in films,” Jones explained. “They only used three-syllable Eastern European names, Bronislaw Kaper, Dimitri Tiomkin. It was very, very racist. I remember I would be at Universal walking down the hall, and the guys would say, “Here comes a shvartze” in Yiddish, and I know what that means. It’s like the N-word. And Truman Capote, I did In Cold Blood, man. He called [director] Richard Brooks up, he said, “Richard, I can’t understand you using a Negro to write music to a film with no people of color in it.” Richard said, “Fuck you, he’s doing the score.” I did, and I got nominated for an Oscar.”
Jones has been nominated for 80 Grammy Awards and has won 28. He is also one of 16 people to have cemented his place in the rarefied EGOT club — by winning Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Tony awards.