At 91 years old, Nat Hentoff passed away in his Manhattan loft of common causes, as indicated by his child, Nick, who declared the passing on Twitter. Nick said the writer was “encompassed by family listening to Billie Holiday.”
Hentoff began in New York news coverage as a jazz commentator in the 1950s for Down Beat magazine, however his assortment of work would in the end incorporate 35 books, 50 years at The Village Voice, where he railed against the Vietnam War, bigotry and the media itself, among different targets, and stories in The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and Esquire, alongside many different publications.
Most importantly, Hentoff was a crusader with the expectation of complimentary discourse, a cause that carried him into conflicts with preservationists and progressives alike. He staunchly contradicted premature birth and the death penalty, upheld smut as a type of free expression, and was ready to assault gay individuals and women’s activists in the event that he trusted they were attempting to smother exchange for the sake of “political rightness.”
Hentoff told Clyde Haberman of The New York Times after he was laid off by the Voice in 2009 that Duke Ellington himself showed Hentoff the dangers of being categorized. “He said, ‘Never get caught up in categories. That’ll imprison you,'” Hentoff reviewed. He savored his part as a troublemaker, and allegedly grasped this portrayal of him by an associate: “He puts on his skunk suit and heads off to the garden party, week after week, again and again.”
Hentoff was conceived in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood in 1925 to Russian-Jewish outsiders Simon and Lena Katzenberg Hentoff. His initial loves included Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, undertakings that would last his lifetime. He turned into the manager of his understudy daily paper at Northeastern University, and moved to New York after a stretch with a Boston radio station. By 1958 he was composing for The Village Voice.