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It’s an open secret the music industry is sexist and racist – Jann Wenner just let it slip | Craig Seymour

The Rolling Stone co-founder apologised for controversial comments about Black and female musicians, but they exposed rock journalism’s previously unspoken biases

In 2020, I was a guest on the Who Cares About the Rock Hall? podcast, discussing why one of my favourite bands, Labelle, should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were certainly deserving: they sang socially conscious songs from a Black woman’s perspective, espoused a philosophy that reflected the intersectional politics of Black feminists such as the Combahee River Collective, and sported a space-age look now celebrated as an expression of Black futurism.

The problem was that I didn’t know how to articulate Labelle’s significance in terms that made sense for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Labelle only had one big hit, Lady Marmalade, an ode to a Creole *** worker; the group’s most direct influence has been multiple covers of Lady Marmalade that have almost no connection with the group’s radical politics and style. I just didn’t see how I would be able to translate the group’s importance to the type of people who vote for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, meaning the mostly white men who historically have voted to induct artists who are white men, partly because of the way they’ve influenced other white men.

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