There has been another development in the ongoing controversy that erupted over the interview Jann Wenner did with the New York Times last week. If you missed it, you can catch up, here.
On Monday, Gus Wenner, the current president and CEO of Rolling Stone magazine, threw his dad Jann under the bus. In a statement that was reported by Billboard magazine, Gus Wenner denounced the statements made by his father, which have been widely condemned in the music industry, and which led to Jann Wenner being removed from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame board of directors.
The Rolling Stone statement said “Jann Wenner has not been directly involved in our operations since 2019. Our purpose, especially since his departure, has been to tell stories that reflect the diversity of voices and experiences that shape our world. At Rolling Stone’s core is the understanding that music above all can bring us together, not divide us.”
In his interview with the New York Times, the elder Mr. Wenner disparaged Black and women recording artists, calling a number of them “inarticulate,” and implied they were not intelligent enough to be included in his forthcoming book on the “Masters” of Rock and Roll.
This past Monday, the rock group Living Colour responded to that interview, in remarks that were also covered by Billboard Magazine.
“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,” wrote the band.
“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.” the statement continued.
“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 [sic] apology only solidifies the idea. That his book is a reflection of his worldview suggests that it is narrow & small indeed,” the statement concluded.
Here’s my take on the controversy. Let me know your thoughts. Like a ‘Rolling Stone’ – music and liberalism collide