New York — Jann Wenner, co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine and one of the co-founders of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, has been removed from the hall's board of directors following controversial remarks he made about Black and female musicians. Wenner offered an apology shortly after his comments were made public.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced on Saturday that Wenner had been removed from its Board of Directors, one day after his remarks were published in an interview with the New York Times.
Wenner sparked controversy while promoting his latest book, "The Masters," which includes interviews with music legends such as Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend, and U2's Bono. However, the book predominantly features interviews with white male musicians.
When asked why he did not interview women or Black musicians, Wenner responded in a way that was widely criticized: "It's not that they're inarticulate, although, go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please, be my guest. You know, Joni (Mitchell) was not a philosopher of rock 'n' roll. She didn't, in my mind, meet that test," he told the Times.
"In terms of Black artists — you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as 'masters,' the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn't articulate at that level," Wenner added.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation's decision to remove Wenner from its board reflects the significance and impact of his words. The incident has sparked discussions about diversity and representation within the music industry.
Wenner Apologizes for Remarks Diminishing Black and Women Artists
Late Saturday, Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone and former editor or editorial director until 2019, issued an apology through his publisher, Little, Brown and Company. He expressed remorse for his comments in a recent interview with The New York Times, where he appeared to downplay the contributions, genius, and impact of Black and women artists.
Wenner acknowledged the inflammatory nature and poor choice of words in his remarks. He fully comprehends the potential backlash and accepts the consequences of his actions. Recognizing the need for damage control, he even suggested including Black and women artists who may not meet the same historical standard in future interviews to avoid criticism.
Wenner's impressive career spans decades, not only as a pioneer in founding Rolling Stone in 1967 but also as a co-founder of the renowned Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which launched in 1987. These contributions solidify his position within the music industry.
Rolling Stone, under Wenner's leadership, has been influential in shaping the cultural landscape. Last year, the magazine published its highly anticipated list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Notably, Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" secured the top spot, followed by Joni Mitchell's "Blue" at No. 3, Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life" at No. 4, Prince and the Revolution's "Purple Rain" at No. 8, and Ms. Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" at No. 10.
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