This week, Courtney Love took to The Guardian to express her frustration with the lack of femme representation in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. While Love hasn’t always had the best hot takes on things, with this, she certainly has a point.
For starters, the numbers back her up. While there are plenty of women in rock and metal, as pretty much anyone even loosely familiar with the genres will tell you, women only make up 8.48% of the 719 inductees in the Hall.
Her piece, titled Why are women so marginalised by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?, calls out the fact that there is a lack of diversity even going as far back as 1983 when the Hall first opened and began inducted those who helped kick off rock ‘n’ roll.
“When the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame started in 1983, you would have thought they might want to begin with Sister Rosetta, with those first chords that chimed the songbook we were now all singing from. The initial inductees were Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley; not a woman in sight. Sister Rosetta didn’t get in until the Rock Hall was publicly shamed into adding her in 2018.
“It took the Rock Hall 30-plus years to induct Nina Simone and Carole King. Linda Ronstadt released her debut in 1969 and became the first woman to headline stadiums, yet she was inducted alongside Nirvana in 2014. Most egregiously, Tina Turner was inducted as a solo artist three decades after making the grade alongside her abuser, Ike. Why are women so marginalized by the Rock Hall?”
Love also points out that this could be a systemic issue tied to representation on the board. She explains that there are 31 people on the board, and only nine are women, and the Rock Hall voters, “among them musicians and industry elites,” according to Love are 90% male. And while she also mentions that folks could easily write off the Hall as “boomers” who are out of touch with modern music, their opinion still caries a lot of weight.
As a conclusion, Love says:
“Rock Hall’s canon-making doesn’t just reek of sexist gatekeeping, but also purposeful ignorance and hostility. It doesn’t look good for Black artists, either—The Beastie Boys were inducted in 2012 ahead of most of the Black hip-hop artists they learned to rhyme from.”
The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame are yet to respond to Love’s comments, but the numbers show that men still make up the biggest portion of inductees into the hall, as well as the biggest portion of decision makers.
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