“Sun Ra’s Musical Spirit”

If you have 28:58 to spare, you can watch this entire interview with Sun Ra, recorded by Detroit Black Television in 1981. (I found it on Dangerous Minds.) In case you don’t, I will list my standout favorite parts:

  1. Fundamental to getting hooked on Ra’s music is realizing it is, as he says, “not music dealing with the body, not music dealing with the mind, but music dealing with the spirit.”
  2. There is a human race and an angel race.
  3. His view on education are that black children cannot be taught the same way as white children. He advocates for using hieroglyphics and statues.
  4. He’s pessimistic about his position as a black man on earth. “In every dictionary in the world, they say black is evil. So I’m not resisting it.”
  5. His personal heroes were Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, and especially Fletcher Henderson.
  6. All teenagers are egotistical.
  7. In response to a question about his decision to use electronic instruments years ahead of almost any contemporary musician, Ra says, “I can see the future, you see.”
  8. “Freedom means dead … but I’m not dealing with freedom. I’m dealing with discipline. You know, sometimes I stay up all night writing one song … because a lot of times it sounds right to me but my spirit don’t feel right.”

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