James Weldon Johnson on Genius

April 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

” American musicians, instead of investigating ragtime, attempt to ignore it, or dismiss it with a contemptuous word.  But that has always been the course of scholasticism in every branch of art.  Whatever new thing the people like is pooh-poohed; whatever is popular is spoken of as not worth the while.  The fact is, nothing great or enduring, especially in music, has ever sprung full-fledged and unprecedented from the brain of any master; the best that he gives to the world he gathers from the hearts of the people, and runs it through the alembic of his genius.”

— James Weldon Johnson, from The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

 

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