Johnny Cash's Sister Reveals Why He Always Wore Black


Country music legend Johnny Cash was always known as “The Man in Black,” but it turns out it wasn’t just a wardrobe choice. Cash had a reason for wearing black.

In a new documentary entitled “Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon,” Cash’s sister Joanne reveals many previously unknown facts about the “Ring of Fire” singer’s life and ideals.

Despite his great fame and success, Cash battled his own personal demons, including bouts of depression and drug addiction. He led a tumultuous life that often took him down some dark paths, passing away in 2003 at the age of 71.

But Joanne Cash, who after 32 years retired from leading the Nashville Cowboy Church in August, noted that, despite his troubles, her famous brother returned to his faith in Jesus before he died.

“The Lord is very real in my life and was very real in Johnny’s life,” she said, according to Fox News.

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“Our mother was a very strong Christian and prayed for us constantly. Johnny’s unshakable faith in God was taught to him by our brother Jack. [Jack] was going to be a pastor, and of course, God took him to heaven before that could happen. He was only 14. But it taught Johnny to have an unshakable faith in the Lord.”

“He gave his heart to the Lord when he was 12, at our little country church,” Joanne added. “But when he grew up he got away from God and got in the drug years. He [then] recommitted his life to Christ. … I guess he thought, ‘If God could change me, he could change anybody.'”

Johnny became a born-again Christian in 1972 and soon became close, lifelong friends with famed preacher Billy Graham.

Joanne revealed that her famous brother had dreams of performing at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry even when he was a kid.

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“There was something special about Johnny from the very beginning,” Joanne said.

“We would listen to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night when it came on. … He said, ‘Isn’t it great? Listen to that music. One day, you’re going to hear me on the radio.’ I kind of laughed because I was a kid. And I said, ‘Really?’ He said, ‘Yes, you’re going to hear me sing one day on the radio.’ I didn’t believe it at the time, but I certainly believe it now.”

Last year, Cash was honored with an annual state-recognized “Johnny Cash Day” in his home state of Arkansas.

Cash’s sister also cleared up the misconception that Cash always wore black because he was a dark, dour man.

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Firstly, Joanne said that he didn’t always wear black. Often he wore blue jeans. “He loved denim,” she said.

But there were reasons he so often wore black for his shows and personal appearances.

Explaining the wardrobe choice, Johnny said, “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.”

“That’s why he wore black,” Joanne said.

“He wrote the song ‘Man in Black,’ which describes that completely,” Joanne continued. “He’d wear it for the young and the old and the people [who] had never read the words that Jesus said. And he said, ‘I wear it for the prisoner who is long paid for his crime because he’s a victim of the times.’ If you listen to … the wording of that song, you will find out the reason he [wore] black.”

Joanne concluded by saying that she wants people to know that her brother had his struggles, and that he wasn’t perfect. But, in the end, he came through whole, beat his demons, and returned to Christ.

“Your dreams can come true and then you [also can fall] away and get … to death’s door,” Joanne said. “[But] through the Lord Jesus Christ, there is hope. … Even if you’re at your very lowest point. And Johnny proved that.”

“Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon” will be released in theaters on Dec. 5.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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