Priscilla Presley Finally Addresses Serious Allegations Against Elvis

In Baz Luhrmann's new movie about Elvis Presley, Elvis is seen supporting the civil rights movement, and he is seen befriending B.B. King, per Daily Mail. But people looked to social media to speak about how Elvis' music style and moves reflected the style and sound of Black musicians, per USA Today, and therefore sparked the debate if he was culturally "appreciating" or culturally "appropriating."

"You can't tell the story of Elvis Presley without telling the story of Black American rhythm and blues, Pentecostal gospel," Luhrmann told The Washington Post in June. The director argued that it's one thing to take from someone, and another thing to be inspired by someone. "It's one of the tragedies and one of the beauties that Elvis was constantly saying, 'I didn't create this,'" Luhrmann continued.

The director, however, is known for his "postmodernist approach" to historical times. For example, "Moulin Rouge!" used popular songs to tell a story set in the 1900s, and "Romeo + Juliet" had a modern spin on the classic Shakespeare play. But while Luhrmann attempted to show the story of Elvis in a more modern light, the debate of if he stole or was inspired by Black artists still stood.

Priscilla Presley attempts to clear up Elvis rumors

Musician Quincy Jones expressed his thoughts on the matter, saying that he wouldn't work with Elvis Presley, claiming, "he was a racist mother —," per The Hollywood Reporter. Jones recalled a time when his orchestra leader refused to play with him as well. But Priscilla Presley, the former wife of Elvis, cleared up the rumors.

"He was not a racist, he's never been a racist," Priscilla told Piers Morgan on the "Piers Morgan Uncensored" show on July 19. "Elvis had friends, Black friends, friends from all over. He loved their music, he loved their style. He loved being around Black musicians ... He was just not prejudiced in any way."

Noah Berlatsky, the author of an NBC News review of Baz Luhrmann's biopic, argues that white musicians have been inspired by their Black musician predecessors for many years before Elvis was popular. Therefore, it was the fans that made Elvis rise to fame, focusing on his talent rather than the talents of the Black musicians he took inspiration from. Because the situation is debatable, we think this discussion will last a long time.