Ishmael Reed Interviewed by Wajahat Ali

 via Counterpunch:

ALI: It’s amazing how all the best selling Urban Ghetto writers – they’re all White.

REED: Right. “The Lords of Urban Fiction.” What I can’t understand why Blacks can’t achieve royal status when it comes to forms that they have largely created? I mean there’s a White King of Rock n’ Roll, there’s a White King of Jazz, how come we can never achieve titles of royalty in these fields we are supposed to prevail in? They held a so called Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the other night, where White judges credit people who resemble them with the invention of Rock and Roll. I didn’t even see Blacks in the audience.

There would be no Rock and Roll without Ike Turner, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, etc. Fake ghetto books and fake ghetto music. Elvis Presley, whom they idol, is merely a karaoke makeover of James Brown and Chuck Berry.

2 thoughts on “Ishmael Reed Interviewed by Wajahat Ali”

  1. Wow, Ishmael Reed is all over the place in that interview. I take his basic point as essentially true. Yet somehow I get the impression he’s never watched “The Wire”, just as an example. Maybe people do watch it and see it as painting drugs as just an African-American problem, but I don’t think that’s the thrust of the show at all. Maybe I take something different from my experience of the show because I don’t think that’s the case… but in the show, the problems are systemic.

    Also, who’s the “White King of Jazz”??? I’ve never heard of such a person.

    I liked Reed’s novel The Terrible Twos.

  2. clarification: by “because I don’t think that’s the case” I mean “because I go into the show already not believing that drugs are an African-American problem…”

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