Jann Wenner, who co-founded both the Rock & Roll organization of Fame and Rolling Stone magazine, has been kicked from the board of the organization for making remarks that were viewed as derogatory against Black and female musicians. Within hours, he offered an apology.
A day after Wenner’s remarks were made public in an interview with the New York Times, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced on Saturday that Wenner had been dismissed from the board.
Jann Wenner stirred up controversy when promoting his new book, “The Masters,” which includes interviews with white and male musicians such Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend, and Bono of U2.
Wenner said, “It’s not that they’re inarticulate, although, go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin,” when asked why he didn’t interview Black or female musicians. Be my guest, if you will. You know, Joni (Mitchell) wasn’t a rock ‘n’ roll philosopher. She didn’t pass that test in my opinion, he told the Times.
Of Black musicians, Stevie Wonder is a genius, right? The problem, I guess, comes from using a word as general as “masters.” Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield, perhaps? They simply lacked that kind of articulation, Wenner added.
Through his publisher, Little, Brown and Company, Wenner issued a late-Saturday apology, saying: “In my interview with The New York Times, I made remarks that diminished the contributions, genius, and impact of Black and women artists. I sincerely apologize for those remarks.”
I completely recognize the words’ provocative nature and poor choice, and I genuinely regret and accept the consequences, he continued.
In 1967, Wenner and others co-founded Rolling Stone, and he remained as the publication’s editor or editorial director until 2019. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which was established in 1987, was also co-founded by him.
Wenner seems to admit in the conversation that he would encounter criticism. To avoid this type of criticism, I should have looked for one Black and one female artist to place here who didn’t meet the same historical requirement, merely for PR purposes.
In its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list from last year, Rolling Stone magazine placed Gaye’s “What’s Going On” at No. 1, Mitchell’s “Blue” at No. 3, 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.
Wenner’s extreme interests led to the creation of Rolling Stone, a magazine that combined expert music and culture coverage with scathing investigative reporting.
Jann Wenner Mistake argument
Jann Wenner included the “articulate” defense in his justification for not include Black artists.
Of Black musicians, Stevie Wonder is a genius, right? The problem, I guess, comes from using a word as general as “masters.” Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield, perhaps? They simply lacked that degree of articulation, in my opinion.