Monday, January 11, 2010

Elvis Was a Hero to Most, But...

Public Enemy was and is one of my favorite groups ever. But one of their lyrics that I always felt needed some fleshing out was, "Elvis was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me. Straight out racist he was, simple and plain..." But what was simple and plain about it. Apparently a story has been floating around the African-American community for over 50 years now. A story that Presley said that the only thing black people were worth was "buying my albums and shining my shoes." No proof has ever been found for this statement. Here is a JET Magazine article from 1957 that debunked the controversy.


The Morholt said...

This is interesting: I had never heard the story, but I did hear a different story about a racist comment he wrote. this article lead me to research it a bit and i could find no corroboration, not even a mention of it in the press or elsewhere. I'll refrain from telling the rumor, since it seems its not true. It always seemed to me that it was strange that someone who gave props to his black musical roots, incorporated black performers, and seemed affectionate and respectful towards black performers would say some of the things he was rumored to. Though, we are most of us familiar with the very peculiar multiple personality disorder that so many Americans exhibit when it comes to race.

wwc said...

Yeah. I don't pretend to know all of the truth of the issue, but he was a poor rural white from Mississippi who grew up around black people so it could go either way, or somewhere down the middle, or all over the place.

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.