Celebrity
Johnny Cash’s sister explains the real reason why he always wore black
"Somebody asked him, ‘Why do you wear all black?’” Joanne recalled.
Elijah Chan
12.05.22

There are some celebrity habits that you’ll eventually notice.

One of the most enduring country singers without a doubt is Johnny Cash. But just like all the stars who had their own flirtation with fame, he also had his fair share of troubles and scandals.

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YouTube Screenshot - Grunge

During his time in the limelight, he was known as the Man in Black. Is this wardrobe choice a reflection of the path he took? Or was there some other meaning behind it?

Johnny Cash started his career in Tennessee.

Young Cash had considerable exposure to country music like hymns, folk ballads, and work songs. He learned to play the guitar when his military outfit was stationed in Germany during the 1950s.

YouTube Screenshot - Grunge
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YouTube Screenshot - Grunge

When he came back, he signed with Sun Records.

His first hits were “Cry, Cry, Cry,” “Hey, Porter,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “I Walk the Line.”

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YouTube Screenshot - Grunge

As he appeared on stage more frequently, people noticed that he wore black clothes. They said it was something about his rebellious nature. But how much of it was true?

Cash grew up with six other siblings.

He was smack right in the middle of the seven.

At a very young age, he already knew what he’d like to become.

Joanne, his sister, recalled that they’d sit down and watch the Grand Ole Opry, the show where legendary musicians were launched.

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YouTube Screenshot - Grunge

Since then, little Johnny swore that his family will hear him sing on the radio.

But before he could meet his destiny, tragedy struck his family. His brother Jack, the one he was closest to, died after sustaining fatal injuries in a car crash. Joanne said Johnny “never got over” that.

By the 1960s, his career began to falter after getting addicted to drugs.

He sought treatment after the urging of his wife. While the journey was challenging, Johnny remained steadfast and by the late 1960s, his career found a new renaissance.

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YouTube Screenshot - Grunge

One of his greatest works and the most unforgettable moments was his album Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.

His music was recorded live in front of 2,000 inmates from California’s Folsom Prison.

Tingnan ang post na ito sa Instagram

Isang post na ibinahagi ni Johnny Cash (@johnnycash)

With his success and the exposure he got from the recording, Johnny found a new calling. He would then raise awareness about the living conditions of American prisoners. He became one of the most vocal names for penal reform and social justice.

So why did the country singer wear black?

“Somebody asked him, ‘Why do you wear all black?’” Joanne recalled, as quoted by FOX, “And Johnny said about his dark closet, ‘You know what? It’s just really dark in there. I’m comfortable in black. It’s dressy. [And] I decided that I would stand up for the kids… that are struggling in the black, darkness of this world.’”

Tingnan ang post na ito sa Instagram

Isang post na ibinahagi ni Johnny Cash (@johnnycash)

Joanne shared that his reasons were apparent in his song Man in Black where Johnny said he wore black “for the prisoner who long paid for his crime because he’s a victim of the times,” among other reasons.

Johnny has long been gone but his legacy endures.

He returned to his church in the 70s and remained a devout Christian for the rest of his life.

The man in black was even ordained as a minister and officiated his daughter’s wedding.

YouTube Screenshot - Grunge
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Grunge

His story only proves that no one is beyond redemption.

And even with what he’s been through and the mistakes he made, Johnny Cash still found his way back to the path that was intended for him.

Watch how Johnny Cash redeemed himself and the most pivotal moments of his life.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Elijah Chan
[email protected]
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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