Jann Wenner, co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine and one-time host of “Rolling Stone: Live!” radio program who recently made controversial statements regarding Black and female musicians was swiftly removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s board of trustees after making disparaging remarks against both groups in an interview.
Why was Jann Wenner removed from the Board of Directors?
The New York Times interviewed Wenner recently regarding “The Masters”, his forthcoming publication that will debut September 26. In this publication are interviews with iconic white male artists like Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen – each interview features exclusively white men artists like these three. Wenner cited his own interest in the work of Black and Female artists as the reason for not including their perspectives. He stated, “Insofar the women are concerned, none of them was as articulate on this intellectual level.” His comment led to widespread criticism and his removal from the Hall of Fame Board.
Who is Jann Wenner exactly?
Jann Wenner’s contribution to the music industry cannot be understated. He was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2004. 21 years earlier, he had co-founded their Foundation that oversees museum construction as well as selection processes for new inductees. Wenner has a long history in journalism and the music industry, but his recent comments are a blot on his record.
How did Wenner react to the backlash?
Wenner reacted quickly and decisively when public outrage was expressed. Wenner apologized through a spokesperson of Little, Brown and Company, the publisher of his book. In his apology, Wenner expressed regret, saying, “I made remarks that diminished the contribution, genius, impact, and contributions of Black and female artists. I apologize wholeheartedly.”
What Has Rolling Stone to Say?
Rolling Stone quickly distanced itself from the controversy that surrounded its co-founder. In a press release on X (formerly known as Twitter), the magazine emphasized Wenner’s absence from its operations. The tweet explained that Wenner’s opinions did not align to the core values at Rolling Stone. The magazine’s mission has been to promote diversity in music.
What does this mean for the Music Industry?
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame acted quickly to acknowledge and highlight a shifting climate in music. Whereas white men dominated in the past, there is now a growing appreciation of the contributions of all artists regardless of gender and background. Wenner did not acknowledge these artists but instead diminished their importance through his comments.
The quick response of the music industry also indicates a shift in accountability. The social media boom makes it easier for fans and peers in the industry to voice their concerns, and hold both institutions and individuals accountable. He could not escape accountability because of his contributions.
Jann Wenner’s controversial remarks and the fallout that followed highlight the tension between an old guard and a more inclusive, new era of music. It is important that as the music industry evolves, old and new figures recognize and celebrate its diverse history.