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Unless the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame finds a way to be more inclusive, it could “go to hell in a handbag,” according to rocker Courtney Love.
While there is an annual debate over nominees and inductions, who gets nominated and inducted is far from a fool’s errand. The venue has a real economic impact on the artists chosen, Love claimed in a blistering opinion piece in The Guardian.
Love said the Hall’s voting process hasn’t done enough to honor some important figures in music. “There are so few women inducted into Rock Hall that the nominating committee is broken. When so few black performers, so few women of color are inducted, the voting process needs to be overhauled.”
She added, “Shame on HBO for supporting this farce.”
While Love acknowledged there were more female nominees this year than ever before, the Hall still had icons like Kate Bush chilling their heels, waiting for an opportunity. Artists can be nominated 25 years after the release of their first album. Bush was eligible from 2004, but did not make it to the ballot until 2018 and has still not been inducted.
In fact, only 8% of Rock & Roll Hall of Famers are female. There’s a reason, Love noted.
“Of the 31 people on the nomination board, only nine are women. According to music historian Evelyn McDonnell, Rock Hall voters, which include musicians and the industry’s elite, are 90% male.”
Black artists fared no better. Chaka Khan’s talent was praised by Love, but even that dynamic power has yet to be recognized. “The Beastie Boys were introduced in 2012 to most of the black hip-hop artists from whom they learned to rhyme,” noted Love.
The reason why induction is important is that the hall certifies greatness, increasing income opportunities. Performance guarantees, the quality of re-release campaigns and other benefits are increasing.
“These opportunities are life-changing — the difference between touring secondary-market casinos that open to a second-rate comedian, or headlining respected festivals,” Love wrote. A Rock Hall induction “directly impacts the income they can earn. It is one of the few ways, and certainly the most visible, for these women to have their legacy and impact honored with immediate material effect.”
She concluded: “If the Rock Hall isn’t willing to look at the ways it’s replicating the violence of structural racism and sexism faced by artists in the music industry, if it can’t properly honor what visionary female artists have created, innovated, revolutionized and contributed to popular music – well, then let it go to hell in a handbag.