Stereotypes In Jimi Hendrix's Biopics

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Jimi Hendrix is such a prominent figure in American popular music that many books had been written about him and many movies had been made, attempting to recreate him. One such biopic that came out in 2014 is Jimi: All Is By My Side, directed by John Ridley. Instead of this biopic spanning Hendrix’s life, eventually ending with his death, Ridley took a different approach. Ridley focuses on the one year prior to Hendrix’s explosive performance at the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival. This small but crucial period in Hendrix’s life is typically glazed over, but for this biopic, it is the central point. Through Andre Benjamin’s portrayal of Hendrix, the audiences see and experience Hendrix’s transformation that still resonates with music today.…show more content…
The movies need to have the backing of businesses, which means profit return plays a huge role in the artistic and even historical facts that the biopics present. In Ian Inglis piece on Popular music history on screen: the pop/rock biopic, he defines pop/rock biopics as “a film which purports to tell, in part or in full, the biography of a music performer and which contains a significant amount of his or her music” (77). The word biography suggests a kind of objective, even historical approach to the production of biopics. However, all form of history is reproduce and rearrange in a way that allows no room for true objectivity. The author’s message is always there, no matter how subtle. Unlike historians, filmmakers, by no means, are obligated to show the full truth. They can twist the facts around and change minor details or even bigger details if it means creating a good storyline that will captivate the audience. In this case, biopics create another framework of half-truths that people must work through. Biopics are based on true events rather than visual representation of the actual events like one would see in news coverage, much like how movies based on books are changed and reshaped to fit the different medium. The second part of his definition relate to the music aspect of biopics. He claim that for it to be a biopic, there must be substantial amount of the musician’s own music…show more content…
There is Linda Kieth who discovers him and provides him with the guitar. She is the one that sets him up with his manager, Chas Chandler. Without Kieth, Jimi Hendrix would never exist. He follows her words and listens to her advice. He eventually meets Kathy Etchingham, who becomes his girlfriend. She is quite the opposite of him in that she’s outspoken and a strong woman. The audience can see that in the first instances when they meet, but also again when Hendrix was in the studio and Chandler said some inappropriate things to her. She left the studio but when they finish recording, she shows Hendrix her anger at being talk to in that disrespectful way. At one scene, Hendrix is seen beating her with a telephone, to which the real Etchingham disapproved of, stating that he never did that. This contrast Hendrix’s easy-going nature audiences have grown accustom to throughout the film. This brutally came out of nowhere and it juxtaposes the characters that had been presented. Ridley perhaps wants to show Etchingham’s vulnerability, in that, while she is a strong female, she is also subject to the social constraint of being a female. In addition, this scene allows Hendrix to be seen in a negative light, giving room for his redemption, which makes the plot more engaging. Instead, there is no redemption. It is this vague understanding that they simply reconciled. In a way, this vagueness highlights the
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