Why Generation Z is Boycotting Elvis

Photo by Brittany Fugate

Elvis Presley, “King of Rock and Roll,” left an astounding impression on millions even long after his death. Elvis is admired worldwide and considered a legend in the music industry still to this day. In wake of his new biopic Elvis, starring Austin Butler, many truths are beginning to unfold about his life behind the stage. As the promotion of the movie continued, many Generation Z youths began to dig deeper into Elvis’ history and their findings have led them to began boycotting the movie

Tik Tok’s influence on Elvis

As more Generation Z youths began researching Elvis’ life they began to create and upload posts unto Tik Tok to speak on their findings and bring awareness to other users regarding his real life behind the stage. The hashtag #Elvispresley on Tik Tok is flooded with informational videos posted by Generation Z in which many of these videos have accumulated hundreds of thousands, some even millions of views. The comment section is flooded with others who are agreeing to boycott. Many are shocked to find out these truths about Elvis and are taking a stand in refusing to support his biopic. 

Elvis’ Child Bride

There are many different aspects of Elvis’ life that the Generation Z refuses to support. The first being his relationship with his former wife, Priscilla Presley. Elvis and Priscilla reportedly met at a party in 1959 when Priscilla was only 14 years old and Evlis was 10 years older than her. She made an impression on 24 year old Elvis and the two began dating against her parents’ wishes at first. Priscilla wrote an autobiography titled, Elvis and Me, where she admitted that her parents were not originally fond of them dating. In 1985, Priscilla told People that Elvis arrived in his BMW wearing his Army uniform to impress dad.” Priscilla even admitted that whenever she had a date with Elvis she 

“had to dress quickly, trying to find some way to appear older than my age.” 

A few years later, in 1963, her parents allowed her to move into Elvis’ parents house so that she could be closer to him. The two then got married in 1967 when she turned 21. 

Many of the Generation Z youths are outraged by this finding as they strongly believe that Elvis and his parents “groomed” Priscilla. Priscilla, being only 14 years old, young, impressionable and star struck has led many to believe that Elvis took advantage of her vulnerability and naive nature. In many of these video posts, Generation Z is claiming that he trained Priscilla to be his wife. Many videos even have captions regarding their feelings about Elvis, stating that what he did was disgusting. 

Hound Dog

The infamous song, Hound Dog, is another reason why many z-generation youths are choosing to boycott the movie. Hound Dog was one of Elvis’ biggest hit songs, taking his career to the next level of stardom. However, once again, upon researching Elvis’ life in the wake of the movie, many young ones began to discover the history of the song. Hound Dog was originally recorded by a blues singer, Ellie Mae who went by the name Big Mama Thorton. Big Mama Thorton recorded the song in 1952 and four years later, in 1956, Elvis re-recorded the song and it became his biggest hit. Generation Z are upset by this finding, given that Elvis never gave credit to the writer of the song, Johnny Otis or Big Mama Thorton. As a result, many still believe that Hound Dog is an Elvis original song. This has driven young ones to post more videos about it to bring awareness and give credit to the original owners of the song. 

Generation Z believe that Elvis culturally appropriated black culture and therefore, are deciding to boycott the movie. Hound Dog is one of many examples of Elvis using songs and music from the black community without giving credit to those who created it. Some believe he stole music and others say that he was simply inspired and influenced by blues music created by the black musicians. Regardless, the overall consensus is that rather he was inspired or not, he should’ve still given credit to the original musicians rather than allowing the public to believe he was the creator. 

There are other findings that have led to Generation Z choosing to boycott the movie however, his history with Priscilla and his appropriation of black culture seem to be the leading cause of the boycott. The Generation Z refuses to show support to someone who they believe is doing something morally or ethically wrong.

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