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Sat May 4, 2019, 03:27 PM

Grass Is Greener Official Trailer

Rolling Stone interview Fab Five Freddy's latest project, 'Grass Is Greener,' presents the racist origins of the War on Drugs.

When did you link policies around cannabis use to musical movements?

The narrative formed in my head: From jazz and the beginnings of American music, particularly New Orleans, to when black folks migrated north to cities like New York and Chicago, and use and awareness [of weed] grew. These records spread the word. You can imagine being at some cool party and you put a nickel in the jukebox and you’re playing Cab Calloway’s “The Reefer Man” or “You’re a Viper” by Fats Waller. You were getting the message that this is the cool thing to do. And as blacks and whites came together, particularly whites came up to Harlem to experience this cultural revolution, that started to attract the ire of racists that didn’t want to see what was going on, and then reefer madness nonsense to scare the hell out of people. They were able to convince people of influence to criminalize this plant and disproportionately target people of color, particularly the musicians back then. That’s a big part of the saga of the plant in America.

Louis Armstrong was among one of the most popular Jazz musicians of the time and was open about his use of marijuana. He was also one of the first celebrities to be arrested for smoking a joint. By the 1920s, some states had begun to outlaw marijuana uses, including California. In 1930, Louis Armstrong was famously arrested outside the Cotton Club, where he was performing, for smoking a joint.

“One of the things Louis never understood was why marijuana was illegal” -Larry “Ratso” Sloman, author of ‘On the Road With Bob Dylan’, and ‘Reefer Madness: The History of Marijuana in America’ reads one of Louis Armstrong's personal letters where he explains his desire to his manager to acquire a permit that allows him to smoke marijuana anywhere in the United States without the fear of being arrested.

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Kind of Blue May 2019 OP
JudyM May 2019 #1

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Mon May 6, 2019, 10:44 PM

1. K&R.

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