What is Charley Crockett’s ethnicity? The singer’s racial identity struggles

By Chege Karomo — ON Apr 20, 2023
Charley Crockett
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Charley Crockett learned his trade as a teenager on the streets of New Orleans, where he lived with a gambling uncle who barely kept an eye on him. With a guitar purchased by his mother at a pawn shop, Charley toured the country, sharpening his skills while drawing inspiration from fellow musical wanderers. He returned home to Dallas a finished article, ready to take the world by storm. 

Charley Crockett is of Jewish, Creole, Cajun, and Black heritage

Charley Crockett was born to a single mother on 24th March 1984 in San Benito, Texas. He grew up alongside his older brother and sister in a trailer park in Los Fresnos, Texas. 

The country star is of Jewish, Creole, Cajun, and Black heritage. He is a descendant of Davy Crockett, a celebrated American folk hero and soldier who served and died in the Texas Revolution. Davy descended from a French family who’d settled in Ireland before moving to the United States. 

Charley’s grandmother, raised white, took pride in Charley’s connection to Davy, he told Texas Living. “To grow up in Texas and have that, you can’t escape it,” he said. “Sometimes I wonder how much, just knowing the relation and the actual blood in me, how much of that has to do with the type of life that I have led.”

The singer told Chron his peers ridiculed him for taking pride in his link to Davy Crockett. “I was able to really look at that heritage and see it more for some of the contradictions about it and some of the myth versus reality,” he stated.

Charley, who described himself to the Dallas Observer as ‘an eighth black’, said he grew up in a ‘conservative family in denial about their roots’. He stated that he fully identified with his Creole and Cajun roots but often felt ‘too white to be black, and too black to be white’. 

He talked to Chron about his racial identity struggles: “I’m always struggling with identity. I’ve never felt comfortable with whiteness, but I have never been identified as anything but white (by others), and that’s a big thing in this country. People are so racially divided, and there’s so much pressure to identify as one thing specifically.”

Charley says that though he has benefitted from passing as white, he’s uncomfortable with the misidentification. “That’s a big conflict for me,” he stated. 

Charley no longer hides his ethnicity. He knows that bar his cowboy hat and boots, he doesn’t look like a traditional country artist. However, he doesn’t care. Charley told The Guardian:

“I don’t look like what a traditional country audience expects or maybe wants to see. When Hank Williams started making country music, they did very similar things about him that they said to me.”