Jazz Video

When Miles Davis was Beaten and Arrested in 1959

Miles Davis in a police van after being arrested and beaten

Adam Neely discusses the legacy of Miles Davis’s experience with police brutality in 1959 and it’s connection to Black Lives Matter.

On 25th August 1959, a week after releasing Kind of Blue, Miles Davis was beaten and arrest by police outside Birdland in New York. He had been performing at the club and was taking a cigarette break outside. After walking a White woman to her cab, a White police officer told him to move on. Miles refused.

“Move on, for what? I’m working downstairs. That’s my name up there, Miles Davis.”

The police officer told Miles he didn’t care where worked and if he didn’t move on, he’d arrest him. Miles didn’t budge and as the officer was about to arrest him, he stumbled and fell. Then a White detective intervened and his Miles over the head. As a crowd had formed, the police quickly bundled him into a van and took him to be processed.

In Adam Neely’s video, he addresses this and the racism that Miles Davis experienced through self-told accounts. He also shows clips of other Black musicians such as Christian aTunde Adjuah who had been victims of police violence.

Rather than centre White guilt, as is often the case for White people when talking about racism, Neely pays homage and respect to the Black music he has worked with and enjoyed in his life and career.

Stream it below and remember—Black Lives Matter.

The ****ed up legacy of the arrest of Miles Davis
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