@zukotiddies reblogged your response to the post La La Land and added:
This is what La La Land teaches. And as a Black musician, it bothered the everliving fuck out of me. Ryan Gosling’s character is portrayed as keeping jazz alive…by not adding any innovations to it whatsoever??? While John Legend’s character is treated like some kind of shill artist cause he modernizes and makes jazz-hip-hop fusion that actually appeals to people younger than ninety? But this is bad, cause he has sexy twerking backup singers, and jazz was never considered racy back in the day, and was always considered high art.
This is such bullshit, because at first white people thought jazz was all about sex, drugs, and crime and they called it actual, honest-to-goodness Evil-with-a-capital-E. They thought of Cab Calloway the same way they thought of Snoop Dogg. And after it had been around for a while, and they felt comfortable around it, they started appropriating it, watering it down, and acting like they were better at it than the people who created it. I have a record at home of King Olivier’s band, including Louis gotdamn Armstrong before he went solo, like these were the best of the best. And whatever white dude wrote the blurb on the back of the record case called them “the best of the Negro bands” as if that were some lower tier of jazz, as if to say, “they’re alright for Negros I guess.”
This, by the way, is the same process that happened to Rock n Roll, which evolved out of the blues, and therefore out of Negro spirituals and work songs, in the first place.
And, like what was already mentioned, Black people have been innovating and fusing jazz since we created it. If you want an explanation for why older jazz is considered elevator music (New Orleans jazz is my fave, btw) you can look to white people who sanitized it, and started treating it like classical music, like it’s this higher, classier form of entertainment for classy old people to go to the opera house to see, and which should never, ever be changed. The rose-colored nostalgia goggles are the reason why jazz is considered elevator music.
(I’m not reblogging this thread again because I don’t want to put up the gifset yet again, but this reply is worth posting.)
ftr, if anyone finds it hard to believe that Cab Calloway was the Snoop Dogg of his time, he sang about weed and everything:
So I had heard that John Legend’s character was a hack/sellout… I did not know that he was portrayed that way because he did jazz/hip-hop fusion. To me, that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of jazz. It’s great to appreciate the old legends of jazz, of course! But the idea that it should remain “pure” and sound like what was made nearly a century ago is weird and regressive (not to mention, we can love the greats of the early 20th Century, but those time periods mean very different things to white people vs. Black people).