"You can't help it. An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times."
"I'll tell you what Freedom is to me. No fear."
"There's no excuse for the young people not knowing who the heroes and heroines are or were."
"Greed has driven the world crazy."
"As a political weapon, it has helped me for 30 years defend the rights of American blacks and third-world people all over the world, to defend them with protest songs. To move the audience to make them conscious of what has been done to my people around the world."
"I think that the artists who don't get involved in preaching messages probably are happier - but you see, I have to live with Nina, and that is very difficult."
"Did you know that the human voice is the only pure instrument? That it has notes no other instrument has? It's like being between the keys of a piano. The notes are there, you can sing them, but they can't be found on any instrument. That's like me. I live in between this. I live in both worlds, the black and white world."
"To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt, and that's not what I play. I play black classical music."
"Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music."
"Jazz is not just music, it's a way of life, it's a way of being, a way of thinking."
"My love is like the wind and wild is the wind. Give me more than one caress, satisfy my hungriness. Let the wind blow through your heart for wild is the wind."
"You've got to learn to leave the table when love's no longer being served."