Joan Baez inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but organization remains intrinsically sexist
Folk singer and songwriter Joan Baez was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Friday night. One of still only a handful of female artists honored by the Hall of Fame out of more than 200 performers currently established there.
Yes, the rock and roll ‘experts’ that vote on this pat-on-the-back-for-the-guys farce do seem to be intrinsically sexist.
Because, while it is nice to finally see Joan Baez get the recognition she has deserved for that last God only knows how many decades, female performers like Janet Jackson, Carole King, Bjork, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Loretta Lynn, Dionne Warwick, Kate Bush, and on and on are still being ignored.
In fact, on Friday night’s ceremony, Baez was the only woman among a big group of men — Pearl Jam, the Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, Yes, and the late Tupac Shakur.
That’s because, not since 2013, has more than one woman been inducted into the museum at one time. Even though half of the music business is made up of them.
As for Baez, she was introduced at the 32nd induction ceremony by Jackson Browne who, during his speech, said the first album he ever bought was Baez’ second album.
Baez herself did seem thrilled by the award (and was probably thinking “It’s about time”). She was especially delighted by what the recognition may mean for today’s young listeners becoming more aware of her music.
As she explained, even her granddaughter didn’t know what an important figure in the music world Baez is.
“My granddaughter had no clue who I was until I took her backstage to a Taylor Swift concert,” said Baez. She added her granddaughter also had a “newfound respect for her grandmother” after she took a selfie backstage with Swift.
During her decades long career, Joan Baez has released more than 30 albums, and has been performing live for more than 55 years.
She has also involved herself in political activism since her university years, and has supported anti-Vietnam War causes, LGBT rights, is an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, was against the Gulf War and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, is a huge supporter of environmental rights, performed live as part of a concert to support the protesters of Occupy Wall Street, and on and on.
During her speech at the induction ceremony, Baez told the audience she believes protest music is still as relevant today as it always was. If not more so.
“Let us together repeal and replace brutality, and make compassion a priority”, she said.
And with Joan Baez inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as much as she seems to be proud of that, you can guarantee music will continue to not be her only focus.
After all, the rights of everyone, even women and their access to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, are even more important.
I'm a former radio DJ, an ex non-profit Director of Development, and a left-wing human rights advocate with a 20 year background in gay rights and HIV/AIDS rights advocacy. I'm also an avid video game player. Minecraft is my obsession.