The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame removed Jann Wenner from their board of directors earlier this week after some controversial comments about black and female artists. In an interview with The New York Times, Wenner defended his choice not to interview black and women artists for his recent book The Masters saying “Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.”
He later added: “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.”
The Masters features numerous conversations with artists like Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, and Bono, and is billed as “a visit to the Mount Olympus of rock” and features Wenner‘s interviews from the past 50 years. Living Colour, like the rest of anyone even vaguely familiar with the evolution of rock, is predictably pissed off about the whole thing.
In a statement posted to their social media, Living Colour said Wenner‘s opinion “smacks of sexist gatekeeping, and exclusionary behavior” and basically blasts the dude for being a stupid asshole. Plain and simple.
“We, the members of Living Colour, would like to address Jann Wenner‘s recent apology for controversial statements made in support of his new book,” wrote the band. “The very idea of a book called The Masters, which blatantly omits the essential contributions of black, people of color and women to Rock & Pop Culture speaks to a much larger and more systemic problem.
“His New York Times interview statement that African American and female artists are not ‘articulate’ enough to express themselves about their own work is absurd on its face. For someone who has chronicled the musical landscape for over 50 years, it is an insult to those of us who sit at the feet of these overlooked geniuses.
“To hear that he believes Stevie Wonder isn’t articulate enough to express his thoughts on any given subject is quite frankly, insulting. To hear that Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Tina Turner, or any of the many Woman artists that he chooses not to mention, are not worthy of the status of ‘Master’, smacks of sexist gatekeeping, and exclusionary behavior.
“Mr. Werner‘s apology only solidifies the idea. That his book is a reflection of his worldview suggests that it is narrow & small indeed”.
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