One of the best-known members of Boone County’s most famous families has a message for anyone watching the forthcoming documentary about their life.
“Just watch it and be happy, but don’t believe what you see about drug abuse because it isn’t true,” Mamie White said. Mamie White is sister of ‘Dancing Outlaw’ Jesco White and one of the stars of “The Amazing and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.”
In it, a crew of documentary filmmakers spent over a year following Jesco White, Mamie, Bo, Sue Ann and the rest of the White family around Boone County. The crew filmed the best and worst moments of the cult figures that have both fascinated and perplexed people throughout the United States for more than 20 years.
“I’m not happy with the scenes of drug use and neither is Jesco,” Mamie said last Thursday during an interview shortly before sister Sue Ann White was released on bond after a recent drug arrest.
“The ‘so-called joint’ that everybody thinks Jesco was smoking was just rolled with Bugler (a brand of loose smoking tobacco). “When you see what looks like us snorting cocaine, it was just confectionary sugar that the film people told us to use.” Mamie emphasized that Jesco hasn’t consumed what she deemed ‘hard drugs’ in over twenty years.
“Jesco will drink some whiskey or some Budweiser if there is a party going on, and if he’s performing he might take a few puffs off a joint if someone offers it to him, but my brother got off the hard a long time ago. It’s crazy to say he wanted to buy cocaine. He wouldn’t do that stuff.” She added that since the arrest, her brother’s family physician has cut off his prescription painkillers, which he needs for back injuries. “She told Jesco that if he gets the charges dropped, she would give him his prescription back. He needs it though. My brother is in constant pain. He’s not faking anything.”
White said that since his release from jail, Jesco White is “afraid to go outside.” A recent trip to Danville to pay a number of utility bills was especially worrisome to the tap-dancing sensation. “Jesco asked me to let him out so he could go into the store down at the plaza so he could pay his bills,” White said. “When we went in, everyone got real quiet and just stared at us like we were aliens or something. It freaked Jesco out and he just walked out the door,” she said
Mamie herself said she “tries her best not to give the law any reason to arrest me.”
Attentiveness to traffic laws and avoiding “people who are into stuff,” and responsibilities to her extended family “keeps me out of trouble.” She said she is the caretaker of several members of her family and keeping watch over Jesco White “takes up a lot of my time.”
The woman takes pride in the fact that her “name isn’t on the scanner all the time. You don’t hear people talking about me doing anything wrong.”
Anyone who might be led to believe that the Whites have gotten rich, or even remotely well off from payments from producers would be shocked to see what little they really received, according to Mamie White.
“When they came to town they would give us a few hundred dollars and a few quarts of moonshine and take us out to eat at Park Avenue,” she said. “They told me that if the show was successful we would probably end up with a good bit of money, but I will believe it when I see it.”
Mamie continued, “We are the poorest legends in the world. We haven’t gotten enough from Johnny Knoxville to amount to anything.” She said the family has not even secured legal representation to protect their interests in relation to the movie. “We could sure use a lawyer to make sure we get all the money that’s due us,” Mamie said. “But do you think any Boone County lawyer is going to represent a bunch of poor Whites?”
Her recent experiences with the arrests of Jesco and Sue Ann have driven Mamie to have what she calls “a big learning experience.”
She said, “For a long time, people have used and abused our family for nothing. They’re not going to trick Mamie White anymore. Johnny Knoxville isn’t going to get the better of the Whites ever again.”
Local cultural icon Jesco White, who has appeared in documentaries, television shows and rock videos as “The Dancing Outlaw” is no longer a guest of the state at the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden.
According to the booking department at the jail, White was released on bond yesterday.
An MTV production company responsible for the newest documentary about the infamous mountain dancer and cultural icon was believed to have put up bond for White.
White was arrested on drug and conspiracy charges in Boone County on Monday after allegedly trying to buy cocaine.
Law enforcement officers said it appeared the Whites were trying to travel to another person's home to purchase cocaine.
Bond was initially set at $50,000. However there was some confusion over the drug transaction and the drug charges were later dropped. His bond was reset at $10,000.
Jesco White and his sister Sue Ann White were initially charged with conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance. White denied the allegations claiming he didn't do cocaine and had been sober for years.
The premiere for the new documentary "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia" was held recently at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
White appeared in the PBS documentary called “The Dancing Outlaw” which was produced several years ago. The new film has not been put into wide release as yet.
Neither Jesco White, nor the documentary film crew, were contacted to comment on this article.