Julius Davis, an education programs manager at Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, lost his job Friday, about two weeks after screening a video featuring Jimi Hendrix to a large group of fifth-graders, according to Cleveland's The Plain Dealer. Davis' dismissal came after one teacher complained to the Hall that the presentation was inappropriate for young students because Hendrix was a drug abuser. "By terminating me, [Hall officials are] agreeing [that] Hendrix is not a person you want to introduce to a younger generation," charges Davis. "It smacks of censorship.
"If that's the case, we have to cut out Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis Presley. . . . The fact that these folks had wild lifestyles doesn't deter from the fact that they were some of the greatest musicians of the last century."
Davis showed footage of Hendrix during a Feb. 6 presentation at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall in Akron, as part of Ohio Ballet's KidSTEPS educational outreach program. The event drew 2,000 fifth-graders from public and private schools, mostly in the Akron area.
The video featured Hendrix in concert, flicking his tongue and playing his guitar with his teeth as he performed "Foxy Lady" while a female fan with a partially exposed breast looked on.
The concert scenes were interspersed with comments from Hendrix, Pete Townshend and an unidentified young woman who declared: "There's nothing wrong with just sex for sex."
The video violated the guidelines of the rock hall's "Rockin' the Schools" education program, said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the rock hall.
"For this age group, the approved material is Jimi Hendrix playing 'The Star-Spangled Banner', " Stewart said.
Davis said he never received any guidelines from the rock hall.
"The content was definitely not appropriate for the age group," said Ohio Ballet's Lissa Hajoway, who oversees KidSTEPS.
Davis also showed videos of THE SUPREMES and THE TEMPTATIONS. The 20-minute presentation preceded a performance of "Sixty Eight", a ballet set to music by Hendrix, Janis Joplin and other '60s rock stars.
"I'm a third-generation teacher, I'm a musician, and I'm passionate about music," Davis said. "I wasn't trying to embarrass the rock hall or to offend anyone."