Friday, 9 April 2021

"The overall quality of every true artist's work is a rebellion against Black Codes."



The Black Codes were a historic reality: restrictive racial laws re-imposed after the all-too brief Reconstruction era following the US Civil War. They were a restriction from above. In his 1985 composition 'Black Codes From the Underground,' trumpeter Wynton Marsalis attacks "contemporary definitions of Black Codes" which folks impose upon themselves. An important observation. Explaining himself:

"Black Codes mean a lot of things. Anything that reduces potential, that pushes your taste down to an obvious, animal level. Anything that makes you think less significance is more enjoyable. Anything that keeps you on the surface. 

    "The way they depict women in rock videos -- Black Codes. People gobbling up junk food when they can afford something better -- Black Codes. The argument that illiteracy is valid in a technological world -- Black Codes. People who equate ignorance with soulfulness -- definitely Black Codes. 

    "The overall quality of every true artist's work is a rebellion against Black Codes. That's the line I want to be in ..."

... a rebellion against self-limitation. That's a line we should all be in.

Enjoy the tune.

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