There is no conspiracy to delete the voices of African American writers. After all, we sought out both Crouch and Baraka to contribute to the magazine. We agree that African Americans, as well as women and Hispanics, are under-represented in jazz journalism as well as in the media at large. In fact, we recently published a piece by Ron Wynn, "Where's the Black Audience?," in which he called for an increased presence of minorities in the jazz and mainstream media.

Although we are disappointed that it didn't work out with Crouch's column, we will continue to reach out to black writers and pursue new and under-represented voices. We hope that The Village Voice will do the same.

Lee Mergner
Silver Spring, Maryland

Daniel King replies: By "old-boy battles," I don't mean that Porter and Koransky are old in age, but that Porter and Koransky inherit an old guard that I'm calling for us all to reassess. Describing Crouch's writing as an example of "belligerence" suggests that he's an aberration in the field of criticism Mergner is in charge of. Crouch is not. And calling Baraka "impenetrable," as Mergner has done, reveals the publisher's limitation as a reader rather than Baraka's as a stylist. The New York Times commissioned and then refused a now celebrated Baraka piece in 1964, stating that the editors could not understand it. History is repeating itself; that Mergner silenced the two fieriest black jazz writers who criticize white tendencies is revealing.

My apologies for misattributing the term "anti-jazz." Many Web sites state incorrectly that Feather coined the term. But this slip doesn't cancel A.B. Spellman's claim that the phrase results from an institutionalized hold on jazz history. Lastly, suggesting that the Voice printed my piece because Crouch had worked here is a stab at alleged self-congratulation at the Voice rather than a rebuttal to my actual argument.

« Previous Page