Rock Hall nominations are here, and they're more eclectic than ever.
On Wednesday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the 16 artists eligible for induction in 2021, led by Jay-Z, Iron Maiden and Foo Fighters.
Most notably, it's the most female-heavy ballot in the organization's more than 30-year history. Seven women are up for induction, including Carole King (as a performer), Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Kate Bush, Dionne Warwick, Tina Turner and The Go-Go's.
It's long overdue for the overwhelmingly male Rock Hall. According to an analysis early last year by Evelyn McDonnell of Loyola Marymount University, less than 8% of the artists inducted are women. The 2020 nominees featured only three women: Khan, Whitney Houston and Pat Benatar, of whom only Houston was inducted.
Recent inductees have spoken out about the Rock Hall's lack of inclusion. Shortly after his 2016 induction, Steve Miller railed against the hall in a candid interview with Rolling Stone, calling it a "private boys' club." Janet Jackson ended her 2019 speech by saying "induct more women." And Stevie Nicks, the only woman inducted twice as both a solo artist and member of Fleetwood Mac, said at the 2019 ceremony, "What I am doing is opening up the door for other women to go, like, ‘Hey man, I can do it.' "
If chosen for the 2021 class, King and Turner will become the second and third female artists inducted twice, following Nicks’ 2019 election. King was previously inducted in 1990 with songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, while Turner was inducted in 1991 as one half of musical duo Ike & Tina Turner.
Along with recognizing more women, the 2021 nominations are also the most racially diverse they've been since 1996, according to the Rock Hall. Nine of the 16 nominees feature artists of color, including Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, rock band Rage Against the Machine, and rappers Jay-Z and LL Cool J.
Jay-Z is up for induction his first year eligible for the honor. Artists become eligible 25 years after the release of their first album, EP or single; Jay-Z released his debut album, "Reasonable Doubt," in 1996.
The nominees for the 2021 class are rounded out by Devo, Todd Rundgren and The New York Dolls. If Foo Fighters are inducted this year, Dave Grohl will also become a twice-inducted performer, after Nirvana was welcomed into the Rock Hall in 2014.
Rock Hall inductees are chosen by an international voting body of more than 1,000 artists, historians and members of the music industry. Through April 30, fans can cast their votes on rockhall.com for who they think should be elected. The top five artists in that vote make up a fans' ballot, which is counted as a single vote alongside the 1,000-plus other ballots.
Inductees will be announced in May 2021.
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