Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images
Unless the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame finds a way to be more inclusive, it can “go to hell in a purse”, according to rocker Courtney Love.
Although there is an annual debate over nominees and inductions, who gets nominated and inducted is far from a silly question. The Hall has a real economic impact on its chosen artists, Love argued in a scathing op-ed in The Guardian.
Love said the Hall voting process did not do enough to honor some important music figures. “If few women are inducted into Rock Hall, then the nominating committee is broken. If so few black artists, so few women of color, are inducted, then the voting process needs to be overhauled.
She added, “Shame on HBO for supporting this prank.”
While Love acknowledged that this year included more female nominees than ever before, the Hall still made icons such as Kate Bush chill their heels, waiting for a chance. Artists can be nominated 25 years after the release of their first record. Bush was eligible from 2004, but did not participate in the ballot until 2018 and is still not inducted.
In fact, only 8% of members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame are women. There’s a reason, Love pointed out.
“Of the 31 people on the nominating committee, only nine are women. According to music historian Evelyn McDonnell, Rock Hall voters, including musicians and industry elites, are 90% male.
Black artists fare no better. Chaka Khan’s talent has been praised by Love, but even this dynamic strength has yet to be recognized. “The Beastie Boys were inducted in 2012 before most black hip-hop artists they learned to rhyme with,” Love noted.
The reason induction is important is because the Hall certifies greatness, thereby increasing earning opportunities. Performance guarantees, reissue campaign quality, and other benefits add up.
“These opportunities are life changing – the difference between touring aftermarket casinos opening for a second-rate comedian or headlining respected festivals,” Love wrote. A Rock Hall induction “directly affects the lives they are able to earn. It is one of the only, and certainly the most visible, ways for these women to have their legacy and impact honored with immediate material effect.” .
She concluded, “If Rock Hall is unwilling to examine how it reproduces the violence of structural racism and sexism that artists face in the music industry, if it cannot properly honor what visionary female artists have created, innovated, revolutionized and contributed to popular music – well, let her go to hell in a purse.