Jann Wenner's says his book Masters contains seven interviews with white male rockers because black and female artists less 'articulate'.The founder of Rolling Stone magazine has been dropped by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after suggesting female and black artists were less “articulate” than their white, male counterparts.
Jann Wenner, 77, made the controversial remarks while promoting his book The Masters, which carries interviews with seven white male artists: Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Pete Townshend, Jerry Garcia, Bono and Bruce Springsteen.
When asked why there were no black or female artists featured in the book, Mr Wenner said they were not as “articulate”.
"Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level," he told The New York Times.
He added: "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 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."Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield
Mr Wenner said he was looking for musicians who were "philosophers of rock".
He said: "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."
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Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner removed from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame board
Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Jann Wenner was removed from his position on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's board of directors after comments he made about Black and female artists that were widely criticized, the hall said in a statement.
In a terse statement, the Cleveland-based Hall of Fame offered no reason for its move, saying, "Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation."
In an interview with the New York Times published on Friday about his upcoming book titled "The Masters," which consists of seven interviews Wenner did over his career with musicians including Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan, he was pressed on why all seven interviews in the book were with white men.
Wenner, 77, said Black and female musicians were not "as articulate" as the others he chose to profile.
"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, just to avert this kind of criticism," Wenner, who also co-founded the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, said.
He later apologized for the remarks. Wenner could not immediately be reached for comment on his removal.
Jann Wenner removed from board of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over comments deemed racist, sexist
Jann Wenner, who co-founded Rolling Stone magazine and also was a co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, has been removed from the hall's board of directors after making comments that were seen as disparaging toward Black and female musicians.
"Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation," the hall said Saturday, a day after Wenner's comments were published in a New York Times interview.
A representative for Wenner, 77, did not immediately respond for a comment.
Wenner created a firestorm doing publicity for his new book "The Masters," which features interviews with musicians Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend and U2's Bono - all white and male.
Wenner co-founded Rolling Stone in 1967 and served as its editor or editorial director until 2019.
He also co-founded the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which was launched in 1987.
In the interview, Wenner seemed to acknowledge he would face a backlash. .....
Last year, Rolling Stone magazine published its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and ranked Gaye's "What's Going On" No. 1, “Blue” by Mitchell at No. 3, Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life" at No. 4, “Purple Rain” by Prince and the Revolution at No. 8 and Ms. Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" at No. 10.
Rolling Stone's niche in magazines was an outgrowth of Wenner's outsized interests, a mixture of authoritative music and cultural coverage with tough investigative reporting.
Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner removed as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame director after comments on black and women musicians
Rolling Stone magazine founder axed from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame board after comments on diversity
Jann Wenner suggested to the New York Times that Black and female musicians didn't 'articulate' enough for him.Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner was removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in what many considered a response to his recent comments about Black and female musicians.
In an interview with the New York Times released on Friday, Wenner discussed his new book “The Masters” which features interviews with seven iconic musicians. When pressed about why he only included conversations with White men, he suggested that Black or female musicians didn't “articulate” enough for his personal interest.
"When I was referring to the zeitgeist, I was referring to Black performers, not to the female performers, OK? Just to get that accurate. The selection was not a deliberate selection. It was kind of intuitive over the years; it just fell together that way. The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them. .....
MUSK BLASTS ROLLING STONE FOR CLAIMING CANCEL CULTURE IS 'GOOD FOR DEMOCRACY:' 'SCOLDING STONE'
He added, "It's not that they're not creative geniuses. ..... The people I interviewed were the kind of philosophers of rock. .....
By Saturday, the organization released a short statement reading, "Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation."
While the statement did not clarify whether Wenner's comments influenced the decision, Wenner himself released a statement shortly afterward apologizing for his remarks.
"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 in a statement given to The Hollywood Reporter.
ROCK STAR MORRISSEY SLAMS CANCEL CULTURE, SOCIAL MEDIA: DIVERSITY MEANS 'CONFORMITY'
"'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 it's 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," he added. "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."
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation didn't immediately respond for comment.
During the New York Times interview, Wenner previously claimed that while he “should” have included more diversity in his line-up, he ultimately didn't "give a [expletive]" about it.
..... Which, I get it. I had a chance to do that. Maybe I'm old-fashioned and I don't give a [expletive] or whatever. I wish in retrospect I could have interviewed Marvin Gaye. Maybe he'd have been the guy. Maybe Otis Redding, had he lived, would have been the guy."
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Rolling Stone Co-Founder Removed from Rock Hall Leadership After Controversial Comments
NEW YORK -
Why was Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner removed from Rock & Roll Hall board?
The Cleveland-based museum and hall of fame released a brief statement about the decision a day after Wenner's widely criticised comments about Black and female artists were published.
Here is what you need to know about Wenner's removal:What did Wenner say?
In an interview with The New York Times published on Friday, Wenner talked about his new book, The Masters, which is set to be released on September 26.
The book includes interviews conducted by Wenner with Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Jerry Garcia, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Bono and Pete Townshend.
All of the featured artists in The Masters are white men.
When asked why he did not include perspectives of Black and female artists, Wenner said his decision was based on his personal interest in the artists' work.
Wenner, who co-founded Rolling Stone in 1967, added that he should have interviewed one woman and one Black artist for the public's sake and to avert criticism despite them not measuring up to the standard.
His comments have been widely criticised as disparaging.What was Wenner's relationship with the hall of fame?
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame removed Wenner from its board of directors on Saturday.
Wenner was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. Twenty-one years earlier, he had co-founded the Rock Hall of Fame Foundation, which built the museum and chooses the inductees.How has Wenner responded to the criticism?
Wenner issued an apology for his remarks on Saturday through a spokesperson for Little, Brown, and Company, the publisher of his book.
.....How has Rolling Stone responded?
Rolling Stone released a statement on X, formerly Twitter, about Wenner's comments.
Our statement on Jann Wenner's recent comments. pic.twitter.com/dL7lMSTP3k
- Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) September 18, 2023
The tweet stated that Wenner has not been directly involved in the operations of the magazine since 2019.
The statement added that Wenner's comments do not reflect the values of the American publication, which strives to promote diversity in music, especially since Wenner's departure.
Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner apologizes for disparaging Black and female artists
In interview about new book The Masters, Wenner had said no female or Black musicians were as articulate as white performers.Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone and a co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has apologized for remarks he made disparaging Black and female artists as less intellectually articulate than their white counterparts.
The 77-year-old's statements - made in an interview published on Friday by the New York Times in which he explained why he had included only white rock performers, whom he dubbed the "philosophers of rock", in a book compiling his interviews - led to a unanimous vote removing Wenner from the hall of fame board.
Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner removed as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame director after comments on black and women musicians
..... The foundation, which is responsible for inducting artists into the hall of fame and creating its affiliated museum in Cleveland, released a brief statement on Saturday announcing Wenner's removal.
The controversy began when The New York Times published an interview with Wenner on Friday, coinciding with the release of his new book, "The Masters." The book consists of his decades of interviews with rock legends such as Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Bono, all of whom are white and male. In the interview, Wenner was asked why the book included no women or people of color.
Wenner's response regarding women was deemed particularly offensive. He stated, "Just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level," and singled out Joni Mitchell, saying she "was not a philosopher of rock 'n' roll." When asked about artists of color, Wenner gave a less direct answer, mentioning Stevie Wonder and suggesting that black artists may not have articulated at the same intellectual level.
These comments immediately drew widespread criticism, with social media users mocking Wenner's quotes and highlighting past criticisms of Rolling Stone's coverage of female artists. Ellen Willis, a feminist critic, had previously called the magazine "viciously anti-woman" in 1970. Wenner's remarks only served to further fuel these criticisms.
Wenner, who founded Rolling Stone in 1967 with Ralph J. Gleason and transformed it into a leading music magazine, sold the publication in a series of transactions completed in 2020 and officially left in 2019. He published a memoir, "Like a Rolling Stone," last year.
..... He was inducted into the hall as a nonperformer in 2004. However, the foundation has faced criticism over the years for inducting relatively few women and minority artists. By 2019, only 7.7 percent of individuals in the hall were women.
Despite this criticism, recent changes have been applauded by some, and the newest class of inductees includes notable women such as Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, and Missy Elliott, along with artists like George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, and the Spinners. These changes reflect a growing recognition of the need for diversity and inclusion within the hall.
..... While Wenner has not yet responded to requests for comment, it is evident that his remarks have had significant repercussions within the music industry and beyond. The incident serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for gender and racial equality in the world of rock and roll.
Jann Wenner removed from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame board after interview
The Rock Hall referred reporters to a publicity firm that confirmed in an emailed statement Wenner's removal from the board of the organization he helped found in 1983.
The news comes one day after The New York Times published an interview with Wenner regarding his forthcoming book, "The Masters," which contains interviews with musicians - all white men - including Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Bono. .....
In the interview he expressed similar thoughts regarding Black rock artists, some of whom created the music and culture Wenner reflected upon and profited from with Rolling Stone.
"Of Black artists - you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right?" Wenner said, according to the interview. .....
Wenner said in the interview that his selection of musicians for the book was “intuitive” and "what I was interested in," and acknowledged that there might be criticism of his choice.
On Saturday night, Wenner released a statement apologizing for his comments.
The author said the forthcoming book, was "not meant to represent the whole of music and it's 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."
Wenner said he has an admiration for "world-changing artists" not represented in the book whom he "will celebrate and promote as long as I live."
His publisher, Little, Brown & Company, did not respond to a request seeking comment Saturday night.
Wenner's remarks in The New York Times interview have been widely criticized.
Evelyn McDonnell, a Loyola Marymount University journalism professor and expert on music, gender, and politics, said on Facebook that Wenner expressed sexism and racism for decades that underly many "false 'master' narratives about music history."
She said such exclusion inspired her to curate and edit the book "Rock She Wrote" in 1995 with NPR pop critic Ann Powers, report on the Hall of Fame's gender inequity, and edit the book "Women Who Rock."
Author Dawnie Walton called Wenner's quoted words "enraging, disgusting, offensive."
Craig Seymour, who identifies himself as a "Black Gay Music Critic," said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that the popular music industry includes "an oppressive system of value that Rolling Stone helped create and perpetuate."
Rolling Stone was well-known for initially snubbing waves of music, from hip-hop to electronic dance music, that may have existed outside its vision of rock 'n' roll culture - a vision usually dominated by white, Baby Boomer-created music with poetic aspiration and anti-establishment undertones.
..... Gleason in San Francisco in 1967.