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Jann Wenner, co-founder of Rolling Stone, dismissed as director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – NBC Chicago

Jann Wenner, co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine and co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, was removed from the hall’s board of directors after making comments deemed derogatory 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 announced Saturday, a day after Wenner’s comments were published in an interview with The New York Times.

A representative for Wenner, 77, did not immediately respond for comment.

Wenner created a firestorm by publicizing his new book “The Masters,” which features interviews with musicians Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend and Bono of U2 – all white and male.

When asked why he didn’t interview any black women or musicians, Wenner replied, “It’s not that they’re inarticulate, though, go have an in-depth conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin.” Please be my guest. You know, Joni (Mitchell) was not a rock ‘n’ roll philosopher. In my opinion, she did not meet that test,” he told the Times.

“Black artists – you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I guess 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 did it. I can’t speak to that level,” Wenner said.

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, launched in 1987.

In the interview, Wenner seemed to acknowledge that he would face backlash. “Just for PR reasons, maybe I should have found a black artist and a woman to include here who didn’t meet the same historical standards, just to avoid that kind of criticism.”

Last year, Rolling Stone magazine released its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and ranked Gaye’s “What’s Going On” at No. 1, Mitchell’s “Blue” at No. 3, “Songs in the Key” of Life” by Wonder at No. 4, “Purple Rain” by Prince and the Revolution at No. 8, and “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” by Ms. Lauryn Hill at No. 10.

Rolling Stone’s magazine niche was a consequence of Wenner’s outsized interests, mixing authoritative music and cultural coverage with demanding investigative reporting.

NBC Chicago

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