Jesco White was born in Bandytown, a tiny community located in the Appalachian Mountains of Boone County, West Virginia, to Donald Ray White (1927–1985), also known as D. Ray White, and Bertie Mae White. White's father, D. Ray, was profiled in the Smithsonian Folkways documentary Talking Feet: Solo Southern Dance: Buck, Flatfoot and Tap (1987) as one of the greatest mountain dancers in the United States. Following in the footsteps of his father, Jesco's dance style is a subtle mix of tap and clog dancing that is native to Appalachia. Jesco White's dancing has been featured in at least three documentaries.
White was married to Norma Jean White (1939–2009)
The week after the release of Wild and Wonderful, White and his sister, Sue Ann White, were arrested in West Virginia on suspicion of drug-related crimes. White gave an on-camera interview while in jail and stated that he had been drug-free for 30 years. White said that he is not a bad person and that he was "embarrassed" and "hurt" by the arrest. Shortly after his arrest, White was bonded out of jail by the MTV producers of the newly released documentary about the White family. A month after his arrest, the charges against White were dismissed due to lack of evidence.
The documentary The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (2009) directed by Julien Nitzberg follows the White Family for one year and primarily consists of first person interviews detailing the poverty, crime, addiction and the ramifications of the coal-mining industry on Appalachian society.
Grand Theft Auto V
Jesco White provides his voice as the DJ of Rebel Radio in the video game Grand Theft Auto V. He also makes a cameo in-game as an Easter egg, where you can find a character depiction of Jesco doing his mountain dance.
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It Came from Trafalgar (2009) directed by Solomon Mortamur
The film White Lightnin' (2009) directed by Dominic Murphy is very loosely based on the life of Jesco White.
Voiced Ga-Ga-Pee-Pap Cuyler in "Dead Squid Walking" (season 5, episode 3), "The Return of Gaga PeePap" (season 6, episode 9), and "Ga-Ga-Ghost" (season 8, episode 2) in the animated television series Squidbillies.
Has been announced as host of an outlaw country station called Rebel Radio in the video game Grand Theft Auto V. A character of Jesco's likeness can be found in the game in the Alamo Sea region of San Andreas, dancing to an Ozark Mountain Daredevils song being played on a small boombox behind him. Motion capture technology was used to help depict Jesco's unique style of dancing.
Numerous musicians have made tribute songs for Jesco White and the White family. These include:
Ministry Uses samples of Jesco saying, " Man,you wanna talk about a warped mind,I got one " and " Take it home! " on the song " Warp City " from their 2004 album, Houses of the Molé.
White is mentioned in a song called "The Dancing Outlaw" by Tanner Flowers.
The German band Headcrash samples a sound bite of Jesco from the documentary Dancing Outlaw in their song "King of The Chrome".
In the TV series Justified (Season 2, Episode 9) Raylan referred to a cousin who lived "in the next county" who knew 57 mountain dancing steps that no one else could perform. This is in reference to Jesco and/or his father D. Ray White.