Jann Wenner is speaking out.
The 77-year-old Rolling Stone magazine founder is issuing a statement after being removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s board of directors for his comments in a New York Times interview.
During the interview, Jann said that Black and female musicians “didn’t articulate at the level” of the white musicians featured in his new book of interviews, The Masters.
“Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” a rep for the organization later said in a statement.
Later on, Jann issued an apology via publisher Little, Brown & Company.
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“In my interview with The New York Times I made comments that diminished the contributions, genius and impact of Black and women artists and I apologize wholeheartedly for those remarks,” he said.
“The Masters is a collection of interviews I’ve done over the years that seemed to me to best represent an idea of rock ’n’ roll’s impact on my world; they were not meant to represent the whole of music and its diverse and important originators but to reflect the high points of my career and interviews I felt illustrated the breadth and experience in that career. They don’t reflect my appreciation and admiration for myriad totemic, world-changing artists whose music and ideas I revere and will celebrate and promote as long as I live. I totally understand the inflammatory nature of badly chosen words and deeply apologize and accept the consequences.”
Jann is a co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which was launched in 1987, and had served as its chairman until 2020.
In the Times interview, writer Dave Marchese asked why Jann had not included any people of color or female musicians in the book.
“It’s not that they’re not creative geniuses. 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. Not by her work, not by other interviews she did. The people I interviewed were the kind of philosophers of rock. 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,” he said in the controversial interview.
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