For the past week, Courtney Love has criticized the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, posting on Twitter and Instagram about the disparity between male and female members. Now he has finished it off with an opinion article for The Guardianasking, “Why are women so marginalized by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?”
In the article, Love notes that the vast majority of musicians at Rock Hall are male and also laments the absence of female musical icons, namely Big Mama Thornton, Chaka Khan and Kate Bush, at the institution. “Rock Hall’s canon-making smacks not only of sexist control, but also of willful ignorance and hostility,” she writes.
According to Love, the lack of gender diversity can be attributed, in part, to the people they induct into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “Of the 31 people on the nomination board, only nine are women,” she argues. “According to music historian Evelyn McDonnell, Rock Hall voters, including musicians and industry elites, are 90% male.”
Love also suggests that Rock Hall does not incorporate a commensurate number of black musicians. “It’s not looking good for black artists either: The Beastie Boys were inducted in 2012 before most black hip-hop artists they learned to rhyme from,” he writes. Eligible since 2010 and whose music forged a new frontier for hip-hop, A Tribe Called Quest was nominated last year and again this year, a roll of the dice against the white rockers they are forced to compete with in the tickets”.
Love closes her essay: “If Rock Hall is not willing to see the ways it is replicating the violence of structural racism and sexism faced by artists in the music industry, if it cannot properly honor what women artists visionaries have created, innovated, revolutionized and contributed to popular music, well then let it go to hell in a bag.”
Artists become eligible for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after releasing their first commercial recording. Love’s band Hole has been eligible since 2015 but has not been nominated. Love’s late husband Kurt Cobain’s band, Nirvana, was inducted into his first year of eligibility, joining Rock Hall as part of the class of 2014. Love attended the ceremony with Cobain’s bandmates Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic.
Nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year include: A Tribe Called Quest, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, Kate Bush, Missy Elliott, Rage Against the Machine, Sheryl Crow and the White Stripes.
Pitchfork has reached out to representatives of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for comment.