UCLA Professor Robin D. G. Kelley is a historian and social justice advocate, and a bit of a jazz scholar.
The award-winning author was in Louisville this week for the annual Anne Braden Memorial Lecture Series to discuss what he believes is a war on youth through punitive economic and education policies.
Kelley is also an outspoken critic of those who worship the free-market in American politics, and he says neo-liberal ideology—which rose to prominence in the 1990s—poses a threat to all progressive movements.
Besides social justice advocacy, he is well-known as a biographer of jazz pianist Thelonious Monk, and wrote what many consider the definitive book on the legendary artists’ music and life. For many jazz enthusiasts, Monk was seen as a primitive and raw talent but Kelley says the man is much more complicated.
Kelley stopped by to talk about youth politics, President Obama’s re-election, and the problem with modern capitalism. He also gives us a hint about what actor—Wendell Pierce, Idris Elba, etc.—he would like to see portray Monk in a potential motion picture.