- 20 Mar 23
Just 8% of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's inductees are women, with Black female artists also heavily marginalised.
Courtney Love and Chrissie Hynde heavily criticised the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over the weekend for repeated patterns of sexist discrimination.
The Hole frontwoman penned a scathing essay that calls out the dearth of women and Black artists showcased in the Cleveland-based organisation.
“If so few women are being inducted into the Rock Hall, then the nominating committee is broken,” Love wrote in an op-ed for the Guardian. “If so few Black artists, so few women of colour, are being inducted, then the voting process needs to be overhauled. Music is a lifeforce that is constantly evolving – and they can’t keep up. Shame on HBO for propping up this farce.”
Love did not hold back: “Barely 8% of its inductees are female. The canon-making doesn’t just reek of sexist gatekeeping, but also purposeful ignorance and hostility,” wrote Love, a musician, songwriter and actor who was married to the late Nirvana frontman and posthumously inducted Hall of Famer Kurt Cobain.
courtney love said it: "if so few women are being inducted into the rock hall, then the nominating committee is broken. if so few Black artists, so few women of colour, are being inducted, then the voting process needs to be overhauled." https://t.co/srZepRqUaN
— Jill_Krajewski on IG (@JillKrajewski) March 17, 2023
Last month’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination class announcement saw the most woman nominated - but not inducted - in the hall of fame’s four-decade history.
Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, Missy Elliott, Meg White (The White Stripes), Gillian Gilbert (New Order) and Sheryl Crow made the list, with artists becoming eligible 25 years after their first record’s release.
Founded in 1983, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley made up the first class, which included no women. Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who Love thought should have made the initial class, was not added until 2018, after a groundswell of public support for her inclusion.
Love noted that only nine of the 31 people on Rock Hall’s nominating board are women and that less than a tenth of the inductees are women, and pointed to the difficulties Black artists face too.
“The bar is demonstrably lower for men to hop over (or slither under),” Love said. “If the Rock Hall is not willing to look at the ways it is replicating the violence of structural racism and sexism that artists face in the music industry, if it cannot properly honour what visionary women artists have created, innovated, revolutionised and contributed to popular music – well, then let it go to hell in a handbag.”
Despite her frustrations with the Rock Hall, Love recognised that the induction still holds great value.
“As scornful as its inductions have been, the Rock Hall is a bulwark against erasure, which every female artist faces whether they long for the honour or want to spit on it. It is still game recognising game, history made and marked,” Love said.
The singer also posted the names of the board of directors to her Instagram account alongside the personal essay. Earlier this month, Courtney Love blasted the Rock Hall by sharing a tweet from writer Jessica Hopper and a text conversation screenshot with inducted member Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana with the caption “so over these ole boys.”
Meanwhile, Chrissie Hynde has rejected her 2005 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction for The Pretenders.
Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambers, the surviving members of The Pretenders, accepted their induction from Neil Young in 2005. Chrissie and Martin accepted the award on behalf bass player Pete Farndon, who died in 1983 and James Honeyman-Scott, who died in 1982.
"If anyone wants my position in the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame they are welcome to it. I don’t even wanna be associated with it. It’s just more establishment backslapping. I got in a band so I didn’t have to be part of all that," Hynde posted to Instagram over the weekend.
"I was living a happy life in Rio when I got the call I was being inducted. My heart sank because I knew I’d have to go back for it as it would be too much of a kick in the teeth to my parents if I didn’t. I’d upset them enough by then, so it was one of those things that would bail me out from years of disappointing them (like moving out of the USA and being arrested at PETA protests and my general personality).
"Other than Neil Young’s participation in the induction process, the whole thing was, and is, total bollocks. It’s absolutely nothing to do with rock ‘n’ roll and anyone who thinks it is is a fool. XCH"
The Pretenders first international hit was ‘Brass In Pocket’ in 1979. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame took no time in inducting the band exactly 25 years after their first album..
Oasis, New Order, Jethro Tull, Iron Maiden, Soundgarden, Motorhead, Smashing Pumpkins, Blur, Warren Zevon, Korn and Rage Against the Machine, to name a few, are yet to be included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Nominations are sent out to a voting body of 1,000 members of the music industry, with an additional fan vote taking place through April 28. The inductees will be announced in May, with the ceremony taking place this autumn.