Nationwide Jazz School Protests Seen as First Chance to Legally Reverse White Co-Opting of Black Culture
-- University of Toledo to serve as ground zero for the movement's launch --
Black Jazz News Staff
After recent months of online controversy, a least likely candidate, Jazz, is quickly becoming a flashpoint for the sore subject of Black culture being co-opted and profited from by White artists and industry.
Just Google 'White co-opting or appropriation of Black culture' and it becomes apparent just how extensive the subject has been opined about.
But until now, the complaints have been just that, complaints...with no concrete recourse for correcting any aspect of the problem. That is where The Black Jazz Whiteout Countermovement breaks new ground.
The organization (called 'Black Jazz Whiteout' for short) founded by Giant Steps TV Show and New York Jazz Film Festival creator and former Duke Ellington Orchestra and Broadway trombonist, Gregory Charles Royal, has found a niche- changing the law.
"In the discipline of jazz, we have found that 90% of hires at the nation's state colleges and universities are White. This systemic racism is a slap in the face for our people whose culture was not only stripped away during slavery but who clawed back and created one of the greatest art forms, Jazz, the world has ever known", says Royal.
Jazz music has laid the foundation for other Black music the world enjoys today including Rock and Roll, R&B and Hip Hop.
Royal continues, "This music is a protected Black American treasure to the extent that state law can mandate that its hiring practices in jazz education, actually reflect this indigenous circumstance. I do not believe any reasonable person can allow 90% White employment to stand." (Click here for a partial list of school's employment breakdown)
Black Jazz Whiteout believes that hiring in jazz education is the first discipline that provides no wiggle room or excuses for the White establishment to escape. It is not affirmative action - as many of the greatest performers throughout history and today are Black. There is an ample pool of African American graduates over the past decade from universities with degrees in Jazz Studies. However, the organization does believe that certain post graduate degree requirements and policies which often exclude many qualified Black artists and educators, even with undergraduate degrees, should be temporarily rolled back until an equilibrium has been established.
The first organized protest will kick off at The University of Toledo during the week of March, 25th, 2018. Artists and educators interested in speaking or appearing on a panel should contact BJWC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org