A recent interview with Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, has initiated controversy due to comments about black and female artists in the music industry.
When asked why he didn’t interview women or Black musicians, Wenner replied, “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 informed Times.
“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 didn’t articulate at that level,” Wenner expressed.
Wenner’s remarks have resulted in his removal from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Since his comment, he has issued an apology.
While promoting his new book, “The Masters,” Wenner faced backlash for primarily featuring interviews with white and male musicians. When questioned about the absence of women and Black artists, he made statements that were seen as dismissive and undermining.
Wenner’s speedy apology, issued through his publisher, acknowledges the insensitive nature of his comments and expresses regret for lessening the contributions of Black and women artists.
However, this incident reminds all individuals in positions of influence to be mindful of their language.
Jann Wenner’s comments have shed light on the ongoing need for inclusivity and representation in the music industry. While his apology demonstrates accountability, it is essential for all individuals involved in shaping the industry to continuously strive for inclusivity, variety, and honor of artists from all backgrounds.