Wesley Morris: Four hundred years in one line of music

June 8, 2020

As journalists cover the intersection of racist police riots, our president’s instability, and the coronavirus pandemic, we struggle to break the old mold of objective reporting. Wesley Morris, a critic at large for the New York Times, recently wrote about the terrifying detachment of white police violence, the inequalities the pandemic has underlined, and how Patti LaBelle’s 1985 cover of “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” depicts four hundred years of Black suffering.

On this week’s Kicker, Morris joins Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of CJR, to discuss his piece and how to cover the heartbreak and rage sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

CJR · Wesley Morris—Four hundred years in one line of music


The Videos That Rocked America. The Song That Knows Our Rage, Wesley Morris, the New York Times

Patti LaBelle—“If You Don’t Know Me by Now”

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Amanda Darrach is a contributor to CJR and a visiting scholar at the University of St Andrews School of International Relations. Follow her on Twitter @thedarrach.