Mary J. Blige & Chaka Khan Snubbed from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Earlier this week the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their 2021 inductees; Tina Turner, Gil-Scott-Heron, Billy Preston, and Carole King topped the list as the most prominent R&B artists to be inducted. However, a few prominent R&B artists that were nominated did not make the cut including Mary J. Blige, Dionne Warwick, and Chaka Khan.
For years the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been chided for gate-keeping and the exclusion of artists outside the traditional Rock genre. However, the 2021 class includes the aforementioned four R&B artists, along with the Hall’s first induction of living solo rap artists in Jay-Z and LL Cool J.
That being said, to exclude Mary J. Blige from anything is surprising and unprecedented. Blige has arguably been the “Queen of R&B” for the last twenty years, she’s won more than nine Grammys and more than one-lifetime achievement award.
Similar things can be said in defense of Chaka Khan whose often dubbed the “Queen of Funk.” Khan has won ten Grammy’s and has also been granted lifetime achievement awards.
Not to disparage the 2021 inductees, but Todd Rundgren of “Bang on the Drum” fame can’t hold a candle to Mary J. Blige or Chaka Khan. There are dozens of acts in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that are far less accomplished than Blige and Khan, but the barriers for R&B artists remain.
Despite the significant snubs, it’s great to see Tina Turner, Gil-Scott-Heron, Billy Preston, and Carole King get their roses. Although most people would agree that it’s taken far too long for these artists to get their recognition, both Scott-Heron and Preston are receiving this honor posthumously and both King and Turner are near their 80’s.
As the popularity of traditional rock has declined and the mainstreaming of R&B and hip-hop has taken place, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has two options: adapt to the changing landscape of music or be left behind as a relic of the past.
The 2021 inductees include Tina Turner, Carole King, The Go-Go’s, JAY-Z, Foo Fighters, Todd Rundgren, Kraftwerk, Charley Patton, Gil Scott-Heron, LL Cool J, Billy Preston, Randy Rhoads, and Clarence Avant.