Jazz Legend Wynton Marsalis: Hip-Hop Is “More Damaging Than A Statue Of Robert E. Lee”

Speaking on the latest episode of Washington Post’s Cape Up with Jonathan Capehart podcast, jazz legend and Pulitzer Prize winner, Wynton Marsalis derided modern rap and hip-hop music as “more damaging than a statue of Robert E. Lee.”

The issue came up when Capehart asked Marsalis about what it was like to play jazz in America because America is just a terrible racist hellhole, as we all know (or at least that’s what the left wants people to believe). Marsalis immediately fired back at this notion, commenting on how the debates in America shouldn’t be about confederate statues or Charlottesville, but a debate within the black community itself, about “how we’ve lost our grip on our morality in the black community… using pornography and profanity and addressing ourselves in the lowest, most disrespectful form.”


You can’t have a pipeline of filth be your default position, and it’s free. Now, the nation is entertained by that. It’s not free. Just like the toll the minstrel show took on black folks and on white folks. Now all this “nigga” this, “bitch” that, “ho” that, it’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. It’s almost like adults left the room or something…

I do not like [rap]. And it doesn’t matter that I don’t like it. And I recognize that. But I’m from the Civil Rights movement. I was called a nigger. And I’m not talking about in my neighborhood, which of course that went on. I’m talking about, for me, I don’t like the fact of drums going away. I don’t mind the computers. They’re fine. But they can’t replace the people… There’s a movement now to drag public music education down into that? Pssh! It’s almost comical to me…

My words are not that powerful. I started saying in 1985 I don’t think we should have a music talking about niggas 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…

I feel that that’s much more of a racial issue than taking Robert E. Lee’s statue down. There’s more niggas in that than there is in Robert E. Lee’s statue.

What’s worth noting, Marsalis did play a significant role in the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee in New Orleans – it is always interesting to see when people wake up and realize larger modern problems rather than focusing their energy on historical relics.


Listen to the full episode here:



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