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Who Was The Real Elvis Presley?

How does the portrayal of 'The King' in Baz Luhrmann's new biopic compare to reality? Source: BBC Image source : D.R Allo Ciné

mercredi 6 juil. Il y a 7 mois
Who Was The Real Elvis Presley?
5 min

The new Elvis movie is narrated from the perspective of Elvis's manager Colonel Tom Parker, who is considered an unreliable narrator. The role is played by Tom Hanks.

So, who was the real Elvis Presley?

He was renowned as a white singer who 'sounded black'. Commentators at the time said that he borrowed some of his infamous performance techniques from black musicians; his gyrating hips became the talk of the nation, earning him the nickname 'Elvis the Pelvis'. Elvis was born impoverished, and grew up in the mostly black neighbourhood of Tupelo, Mississippi. He grew up around black people, and by the time he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, he was a big fan of black music.

He represented a generation that came up at a time when there was a lot of change going on in the South. As he became popular, he showed that it was okay for white people to appreciate black culture.

But others have seen Elvis as a problematic figure regarding race, with accusations that he appropriated black music, and some even going so far to state that he was a racist. Elvis could not have existed without blues, and gospel music. But whether you call that cultural appropriation – or just say it was part of his musical style– is up for debate.

Of course, there are always multiple perspectives on the life of a legendary figure, and this film is just one interpretation. Each of us has our own perception of Elvis, the man, his music and what he did, or didn't.

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