HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicJohnny Cash’s Sister Reveals Why the Country Icon Always Wore Black

Johnny Cash’s Sister Reveals Why the Country Icon Always Wore Black

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)

Johnny Cash is known for a long and storied career, and one thing that fans know him for throughout that career is his all-black wardrobe. Now, ahead of the new Johnny Cash documentary, “Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon,” his family is coming out to discuss the things that made Cash, Cash.

Specifically, his sister Joanne recently spoke about his all-black wardrobe and what it signified for the music legend. Johnny Cash initially was a religious man, but his life led him away from his faith for a time. In 1972, he found his faith again, and was deeply religious until his death in 2003.

“The Lord is very real in my life and was very real in Johnny’s life,” said Joanne recently. “Our mother was a very strong Christian and constantly prayed for us. Johnny’s unwavering belief in God was taught to him by our brother Jack. [Jack] wanted 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 unwavering faith in the Lord.”

Jack Cash tragically died as a teenager after a work-related accident with a table saw in 1944. Jack died a week after the accident. He was working as a 14-year-old to make money for his family. The incident taught Johnny Cash to be deeply devout, according to his sister.

“He gave his heart to the Lord when he was 12 years old in our little country church,” Joanne continued. “But growing up, he strayed from God and got into his drug years. He [then] gave his life anew to Christ. … I think he thought, ‘If God could change me, he could change anyone.’”

Johnny Cash’s Sister Explains Why the Singer Always Wore Black

According to both Joanne and Johnny Cash, the decision to wear all-black was both a fashion statement and a protest. Joanne initially explained that her brother liked to wear jeans at first. “He loved denim,” she said. There’s also the misconception that Cash always wore black because he was a morose man, that he was emotionally dark just like his clothing. Joanne claims that is untrue.

In Johnny Cash’s own words, “I feel comfortable in black. It’s chic. [And] I’ve decided to stand up for the children […] who fight in the black darkness of this world.”

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