writin' and whatnot

What we call black literature is really summed up for me by the whole career, let’s say, of Bessie Smith, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, because that’s the way it’s been handed down… We had to smuggle information, and we did it through our music and we did it in the church.
— James Baldwin in a 1972 interview with Nikki Giovanni (via daughterofzami)