Jann Wenner removed from Rock N Roll HOF board after comments about Women and Black Artists

Jann Wenner removed from Rock N Roll HOF board after comments about Women and Black Artists
Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine, has been removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation's board of directors, the group announced on Saturday.

The Rock Hall sent journalists to a public relations company, which confirmed Wenner's dismissal from the board of the company he helped start in 1983 in an email message.

The announcement comes a day after Wenner was interviewed by The New York Times about his upcoming book, "The Masters," which has conversations with musicians, all of whom are white men, including Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Bono. Wenner was questioned on the absence of interviews with women and people of color in the book.

Wenner is attributed with saying of the female rock stars, "Just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level."

Similar opinions towards Black rock musicians, some of whom produced the music and culture Wenner reflected on and benefited from with Rolling Stone, were also expressed in the interview.

Of Black musicians, Stevie Wonder is a genius, right? According to the interview, Wenner said. "I believe the mistake lies in using a word as broad as'masters,' which is what you did. Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield, perhaps? They simply lacked that level of articulation, in my opinion.

In the interview, Wenner stated that the bands he chose for the book were "intuitive" and "what I was interested in," though he did admit that there might be objections to his pick.

To avoid this kind of criticism, he stated in the interview, "you know, just for public relations sake, maybe I should have gone and found one Black and one woman artist to include here that didn't measure up to that same historical standard." Which, I understand. I had the opportunity to accomplish it.

Wenner apologized for his remarks in a statement on Saturday night.

He added, "I made comments in my interview with The New York Times that minimized the accomplishments, genius, and impact of Black and women artists and I sincerely regret for those remarks.

According to the author, the upcoming book "is not meant to represent the entirety of music and its diverse and significant originators, but rather to reflect the pinnacles of my career and interviews I felt illustrated the breadth and experience in that career."

Without being mentioned in the book, Wenner declared his support for "world-changing artists" whom he "will celebrate and promote as long as I live."

Little, Brown & Company, his publisher, did not respond to a request for comment made on Saturday night.

Wenner's comments in the interview with The New York Times have drawn heavy criticism.

Wenner exhibited racism and sexism for decades, according to Evelyn McDonnell, a journalism professor at Loyola Marymount University and authority on music, gender, and politics, who said as much on Facebook. Wenner's statements are at the core of many "false'master' narratives about music history."

She said that this exclusion was the driving force behind her 1995 curatorial and editing of the book "Rock She Wrote" with NPR pop critic Ann Powers, as well as her reporting on the gender inequality induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and editing of the book "Women Who Rock."

Wenner's statements, as cited by author Dawnie Walton, are "enraging, disgusting, and offensive."

Craig Seymour, a "Black Gay Music Critic," claimed on X, the website that replaced Twitter, that the mainstream music industry has "an oppressive system of value that Rolling Stone helped create and perpetuate."

From hip-hop to electronic dance music, Rolling Stone was notorious for initially dismissing movements that might have challenged its conception of rock 'n' roll culture, which was typically dominated by white, Baby Boomer-produced music with literary aspirations and anti-establishment overtones.

In 1967, Wenner and writer Ralph J. Gleason established Rolling Stone in San Francisco.
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