Long-Haired Disco Boys

Nobody’s Home: Modern Southern Folklore, an online anthology, has twelve new featured works from creative nonfiction writers, mainly from the south, including Dr. Terry Barr.

Photo by Caio on Pexels.com

It is well-known that music was a unifying element in the South’s Civil Rights movement, whether through the hymns sung by activists or the calls for integrated audiences at rock and R&B shows, so it would seem paradoxical that music could also be divisive in the years that followed. In this essay, Terry Barr comments on the myths and narratives that accompanied various musical styles when he was growing up in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1970s and ’80s.

You can read “Long-Haired Disco Boys” on the Nobody’s Home website to get Terry’s perspective on disco, the culture of white southern men, and the influence that a wide variety of 1970’s music genres can have on the mind of an adolescent growing up in Alabama. He notes that “I will confess that back then, and even now, I was a Southern guy who loved disco, that music movement of the mid-to late 1970s, which caused so many white men to retch in their own mouths and decide to start their own counter “Death to Disco” movement.” Music has power- it can be socially and racially charged, shape our life experiences, and divide us into a unique caste system based off of genres and favorite artists. What are you listening to?

“I still love disco and always have. Let that be known.”

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