Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis — who was instrumental in getting New Orleans, Louisiana, to remove several of its Confederate monuments — now says rap and hip-hop are more damaging to modern culture than any statue of Robert E. Lee.
Speaking to the podcast, “Cape Up,” Marsalis said that he believes the African American community has suffered for embracing music that degrades individuals, particularly women, and encourages poor lifestyle choices.
“My words are not that powerful. I started saying in 1985 I don’t think we should have a music talking about n*****s 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.
Marsalis helped lead a campaign against some of New Orleans’ oldest landmarks, including a statue of Robert E. Lee standing defiantly against the North that graced the city’s Lee Circle for a century, after a white supremacist murdered members of a black church in South Carolina in 2015.
But that was only a start, Marsalis says. Culture has to repair itself, starting with music.
“I feel that that’s much more of a racial issue than taking Robert E. Lee’s statue down,” Marsalis said.”“There’s more n*****s in that than there is in Robert E. Lee’s statue.”