Jann Wenner Apologizes For ‘Badly Chosen Words’ About Black and Female Artists

Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner has apologized after being removed from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame board of directors following widely criticized comments about Black and female musicians not being “articulate” enough to include in his new book.

“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 in a statement issued late Saturday by the publisher of his book The Masters, which contains interviews with Bono, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Bruce Springsteen and the late John Lennon and Jerry Garcia.

He continued, “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.”

When asked in an interview with The New York Times why The Masters does not feature any interviews with women or artists of color, Wenner replied that it was not a “deliberate selection … it just fell together that way” and that “insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.”

“Joni [Mitchell] 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. The people I interviewed were the kind of philosophers of rock,” he 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.”

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