... the other Black experience

Move over Elvis, Chuck Berry was the real King of rock & roll

Over the weekend, the father of rock-n-roll, Chuck Berry, passed away at 90 and the media kind of downplayed the musician's significance. Save for the likes of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Berry’s music pioneered and defined the genre of rock-n-roll, something white folks can’t help but attribute to the white stars who ripped him off. Berry did more than “helped build” the genre of rock music, he established and defined it. Not Jerry Lee Lewis and especially not Elvis, who both took Berry's sound and music and ran with it like they made it. The "Maybellene" and "Roll Over Beethoven" singer's influences continue to reverberate throughout all of rock music, and beyond.

Regardless, we’d be remiss to ignore the allegations of sexual abuse and history of unusual and predatory sex acts involving minors and the unwitting. In 1961, Berry was convicted of transporting a 14-year-old Native American girl, Janice Escalante, across state lines for “immoral purposes”. Escalante told the police that she had a sexual relationship with Berry, who denied that claim but went on to say that he thought she was 21.

In 1989, Berry, who owned a restaurant called Southern Air in Wentzville, Missouri, was accused by a cook he employed, of videotaping women in the bathroom without their consent. Ultimately, sixty women came forward in a class-action lawsuit, claiming they too had been videotaped either at the restaurant or at the rocker’s “Berry Park” estate. These allegations never went to court but it did result in Berry settling and paying the group $1.2 million.

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Comment by Larry "Grey Eagle" Beaner on March 22, 2017 at 10:53am

There's also no mention of his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry & his dedication of his unreleased album "Chuck" to her. I won't name the source of the article, but it doesn't have the word "Afro" in it's name. They also mentioned his Mann Act charges, but made the point of his love & committment to his wife abundantly clear! Less dirt, more love, please!

Comment by James Nova on March 20, 2017 at 11:43pm

Were you there? Celebs universally get fleeced by all kinds of people wanting payoffs. WHERE'S THE PROOF? Show it or quit repeating bullshit.

Comment by James Nova on March 20, 2017 at 11:42pm

Again, where are these negative or dismissive obits? Afropunk is the ONLY negative one I have seen. Ridiculous.

Comment by Kevin Amos on March 20, 2017 at 11:28pm

If you want to pay tribute, pay tribute. Why stoop to the depths of the White media by brining up dirt? Over the past few years we have lost an awful lot of innovators and legends. Give them the respect they are due. In the meanwhile check the lyrics of "Brown Eyed Handsome Man". Mr. Berry went there during the time of Jim Crow racism. Why wouldn't the powers that be go after him for anything?

Comment by James Nova on March 20, 2017 at 8:49pm

All the media obits of Berry that I read were overflowing with praise and recognition for his creator status and musicianship.  I did not see one that downplayed it.  Could you please cite those sources?  


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