Quincy Jones Calls Elvis Presley ‘Racist,’ Says He ‘Wouldn’t Work With Him’

In a recent interview with 'The Hollywood Reporter,' Quincy Jones didn't hold back when he explained why he wouldn't work with Elvis Presley,

Quincy Jones

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Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind. 

In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 88-year-old musician and producer recalled an exchange with Elvis Presley

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. 

The musical maestro inaugurates the THR Icon series with his famously candid takes on Hollywood racism and drug use, his formidable exes and his Silicon Valley pals: “Richard Branson and Paul Allen and Elon are trying to get me to go with them to space” https://t.co/LqWjugukYu

— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) May 20, 2021

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.

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