New York rock legends Living Colour have given a direct call-out to Rolling Stone co-founder, Jann Wenner. Wenner, 77, was recently interviewed by The New York Times, where he spoke about his exclusion of Black and women musical artists in his forthcoming book, The Masters: Conversations with Dylan, Lennon, Jagger, Townshend, Garcia, Bono, and Springsteen.
“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 (Mitchell) was not a philosopher of rock ’n’ roll. She didn’t, in my mind, meet that test,” Wenner said.
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.”
Jenner’s statement, deemed misogynistic and racist by some readers, didn’t sit well with Living Colour, who issued a written statement, per Billboard.
“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 Living Colour, including singer Corey Glover, bassist Doug Wimbish and drummer Will Calhoun.
“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,” it continued. “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.”
Wenner has faced additional fallout for his controversial comments, including dates on his book tour being canceled, and being removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s board of directors.
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