The Supreme Love and Revolutionary Funk of Cornel West, Philosopher of the Blues

“There’s a way in which you could think about Cornel as a kind of sick soul,” says Glaude. “In the sense that he begins with the dead, with darkness. He begins with suffering. The blue note. And all too often people want to move too quickly beyond that.”

“That’s the American way,” says West when I raise the question of the blue note and its dismissal, the common conviction that looking forward means forgetting the past. “‘No problem we cannot solve,’” he says, paraphrasing conventional wisdom. Well, that’s a lie. I don’t know why Americans tell that lie all the time.” He laughs, shaking in his chair, mimicking a voice that sounds like a suburban golfer in pants a size too small. “‘No problem we can’t get beyond.’ That’s a lie! But—it generates a strenuous mood.”

Great profile of a fascinating person. I can’t vouch for West’s own writings, or the extent to which he’s just playing a character, but this is worth reading.