“Well, I’ve changed the course of music five or six times. What have you done except fuck the president?”—
Miles Davis to Nancy Reagan at a White House dinner in 1987 after she’d inquired as to what he’d done with his life to merit an invitation. source (via marxisforbros)
Eh this is completely wrong. He was actually quite fond of the Reagans. It was at a White House dinner however. Here is what actually happened. From his autobiography.
Miles writes: “She looked at me and turned all red and shit, then she said, ‘Well, what have you done that’s so important in your life? Why are you here?’ “Now, I just hate shit like this coming from someone who is ignorant, but who wants to be hip and has forced you into a situation where you’re talking to them in this manner. She brought this on herself. So then I said, ‘Well, I’ve changed music five or six times, so I guess that’s what I’ve done and I guess I don’t believe in playing just white compositions.’ “I looked at her real cold and said, ‘Now, tell me what have you done of any importance other than be white, and that ain’t important to me, so tell me what your claim to fame is?’”
Oh hey, look at that. The original quote was a scathing critique of race and unearned ambition but the popularized version simultaneously glorified sexism while confining Davis to the caricature of the angry black man.