HipHopWired Featured Video
Jann Wenner, a co-founder of popular music publication Rolling Stone, found himself the target of criticism after delivering comments some deemed racist and sexist. Wenner has since apologized for the comments, but he was still ousted from the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, which he also helped establish, in the wake.
As seen on Deadline, Jann Wenner, 77, was recently profiled by the New York Times in support of his upcoming book, The Masters, focusing on seven iconic musicians who all happen to be white and male. The figures Wenner interviewed are Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Jerry Garcia and Pete Townsend — all of whom are considered legends in music.
In the Times piece, Wenner was questioned on just interviewing white male artists, he went on to say that women weren’t, quote, “as articulate enough on this intellectual level.”
Wenner also used the same talking point when speaking of Black artists.
Wenner also employed the “articulate” argument in his explanation of why he excluded Black artists.
“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 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s board voted just after the Times profile was published and Wenner promptly followed with a prepared statement attempting to clarify his stance.
“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,” Wenner said.
The statement continues, “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.”
Photo: Cindy Ord / Getty