Jimmy Heath's Advice to Young African-Americans

This has been spreading on social media, and I thought I'd share it here with the transcription. Definitely worth hearing this man's opinion on things.

Jimmy Heath: Advice to African Americans

"I would say to young African Americans is to learn your history and to value that. “You must know where you’ve been to know where you’re going,” as my mentor Dizzy used to say. You have to have one foot in the past and one foot in the future. And that’s what you have to do: you have to study. It’s not just Martin Luther King; he wasn’t alone. We get hooked on these things—the media does that to us—and the youth is really the victims of the media because they go by what the media tells them: what to dress, what to listen to, what to wear, what to this—if you’re not, you’re not hip! But you have to be a person who searches and go out on your own and find out things for yourself.
And, one thing for you to do as a young Afro-American is to study something about the history and then, they wouldn’t say like they say to me sometimes, ‘Jazz is white people’s music.’ And that hurts. It hurts! Now, I grant you: you see the white artist and you see the audience is white and Japanese. When I was coming up, 60% was Afro-Americans, and you may get 40 or 30% white. How that has turned around has changed the image so that the Afro-American youth doesn’t know that this is a great achievement that people suffered for. Louis Armstrong, one of our first ambassadors, he suffered to be what he was, and he made it. He charted a path for all of us, and all the guys who know the history of it, they know that, the jazz musicians. But the general… 
You know, I went to Black Network college tour and I played at Cosby Auditorium in Spellman and other schools: Jackson State, Florida A&M and all the black southern – South Carolina State and all. I was hurt in that the black schools concentrated on marching bands for the football games and didn’t pay enough attention to Afro-American classical music. And I said to some of the students—I know they didn’t like it—I said ‘Ok.’ I was hanging out at Tennessee State and they had a 200-piece band, and when we had the jazz class, we had a few students and half of them couldn’t play as well in that idiom as some of the other schools I had been to—white schools in particular. And, I said ‘Well, you know, all y’all practicing to be athletes, ‘cause you can throw your legs up and do all that, you got a hip march, but you gonna have to march straight to the welfare if you going to try to play them instruments when you get out of here, unless you get serious about these instruments.” 
All show for the football games. It’s changed now. I was just at Howard, and Howard is different now than when my buddy Benny Golson went there. They have a great jazz program, so it’s looking up. All the white schools have them—that’s why people call it white people’s music. But now they have them at Oberlin, they have jazz programs, so in the last 10 or 15 years, it’s become—it’s in vogue to have a jazz program at your school, so it’s getting better."