Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz musician Wynton Marsalis said that the racially charged and profanity-laced creations in rap and hip-hop are "more damaging" to the culture and to black Americans "than a statue of Robert E. Lee."
During a recent interview with the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, Marsalis -- the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1997 -- said: “My words are not that powerful. I started saying in 1985 I don’t think we should have a music talking about niggers 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," said Marsalis, who plays the trumpet and received the National Medal of Arts in 2005.
In 2017, Marsalis supported New Orleans' Mayor Mitch Landrieu in removing a confederate statue. However, Marsalis told Capehart that as for rap and hip-hop, "I feel that that's much more of a racial issue than taking Robert E. Lee's statue down."
"There's more niggers in that [music] than there is in Robert E. Lee's statue," he said.
"It's just like the toll the minstrel show took on black folks and on white folks," he said. "Now, all this 'nigger this,' 'bitch that,' 'hoe that,' that's just a fact at this point."
Marsalis, 56, started a jazz program at the Lincoln Center in 1987, and he has hosted the educational program Marsalis on Music, which won the George Foster Peabody Award.
At the age of 22, Marsalis won Grammay Awards for both jazz and classical music, in the same year, 1983.
He was also awarded the National Humanities Medal and was named an NEA Jazz Master. Marsalis reportedly has sold over 7 million albums worldwide. He also is the author/co-author of seven books on music.