Whatever you do, do it 100%. When you work, work. When you laugh, laugh. When you eat, eat like it’s your last meal.
You never win with violence. You only win when you maintain your dignity. Dignity always prevails.[to Tony]
Yes, I live in a castle, Tony! Alone! And rich white people pay me to play piano for them because it makes them feel cultured. But as soon as I step off that stage, I go right back to being just another nigger to them. Because that is their true culture. And I suffer that slight alone, because I’m not accepted by my own people, ’cause I’m not like them either. So if I’m not black enough, and if I’m not white enough, and if I’m not man enough, then tell me, Tony, what am I?
Trained? What are you, a seal? People love what you do. Anyone could sound like Beethoven or Joe Pan or them other guys you said. But your music, what you do, only you can do that.[Don Shirley: A mistake? Performing the music I trained my entire life to play?]