Rosanne Cash and the other children of music legend Johnny Cash have a message for white supremacists and other racists who enjoy their father’s music: bug off.
The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter posted a message to her Facebook page Wednesday afternoon on behalf of her sisters and brother after seeing video of a white nationalist who attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, “spewing hatred and bile” while wearing a Johnny Cash t-shirt. “We were sickened by the association,” Cash said.
The August 12 rally, organized by known white supremacists, was marked by multiple instances of violence, most notably the murder of a women when a neo-Nazi drove his car through a crowd of anti-racism counter-protestors. The night before the rally, “Unite the Right” attendees held a torchlit march on a local college campus during which they shouted slogans like “Jews will not replace us.”
The letter from the Cash family was signed by Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy and Tara Cash, Johnny’s four daughters with his first wife, Vivian Liberto, and John
It continued: “Johnny Cash was a man whose heart beat with the rhythm of love and social justice. He received humanitarian awards from, among others, the Jewish National Fund, B’nai Brith, an the United Nations. He championed the rights of Native Americans, protested the war in Vietnam, was a voice for the poor, the struggling, and the disenfranchised, and an advocate for the rights of prisoners … He would be horrified at even a casual use of his name or image for an idea or a cause founded in persecution and hatred.
“The white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville are poison in our society, and an insult to every American hero who wore a uniform to fight the Nazis in WWII. Several men in the Cash family were among those who served with honor.”
In the conclusion of her letter, the Cash children were adamant that white nationalists aren’t welcome or wanted as fans of her father’s music. “To any who claim supremacy over other human beings, to any who believe in racial or religious hierarchy: We are not you,” it read. “Our father, as a person, icon, or symbol, is not you. We ask that the Cash name be kept far away from destructive and hateful ideology.”
The comments come the day after Donald Trump shocked media members, politicians, and civilians alike when he launched into an unrehearsed, confrontational rant defending “Unite the Right” attendees during a Tuesday press conference. Trump notably downplayed the naked racism on display by nearly every “Unite the Right” attendee, and said that people protesting against racism were equally to blame for the violence that ensued.
Read the entire Cash family letter here.