Put Evelyn McDonnell on the Rock Hall Nominating Committee to Support Gender Equality

Put Evelyn McDonnell on the Rock Hall Nominating Committee to Support Gender Equality

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Nicholas Bambach started this petition to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

            Evelyn McDonnell is one of the great music writers of the past three decades. She has written extensively about the intersection of rock music, gender, and American culture. She is an associate professor of journalism at Loyola Marymount University. She has written for major publications including Rolling Stone, Billboard, The New York Times, and The Miami Herald. She is also the author of several books including Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways (2013), Mamrama: A Memoir of Sex, Kids, and Rock ‘n’ Roll (2009), and Army of She: Icelandic, Iconoclastic, Irrepressible Bjork (2001). Last October, she edited the anthology Women Who Rock: Bessie to Beyonce, Girl Groups to Riot Grrrl (2018), a celebration of the most influential female musicians of the past century.

            Although McDonnell is already a voter in the larger Rock Hall voting body, that is simply not enough and she deserves to be a member of the Nominating Committee's annual meeting to determine the nominees (on average, there are 15 artists nominated each year). This past March, McDonnell wrote the wonderful and thought-provoking essay “The Manhandling of Rock ‘N’ Roll History,” which comments on the major imbalance of gender representation throughout the history of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s induction classes. Only 7.7% of the 888 total Rock Hall inductees are women, a shameful and inexcusable statistic. At the same time, however, McDonnell makes a compelling case that the exclusion of women in the Rock Hall is consistent throughout the history of Rock & Roll. She argues that women are often “manhandled” by powerful (and often white) industry executives and board members, meaning women are cast aside from the history books and ultimately excluding them from receiving prestigious honors and awards…such as a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. And this doesn’t even starch the surface of her discussion of Rock Hall co-founder Ahmet Ertegun’s questionable behavior including associations of sexual assault and misconduct, which McDonnell discusses in great detail.

            But the Rock Hall’s problematic exclusion of women in their institution began in its infancy. The Rock Hall’s inaugural class inducted zero women on a ballot of 48 artists (and in fact, only 8 out of those nominees were women). They waited until the following year to enshrine their first female inductee, the incomparable Aretha Franklin in 1987. Although the Rock Hall constantly touted Franklin as their first female inductee after her passing last August, there was no tribute performance in her honor at last March’s induction ceremony. Even the Queen of Soul is not deemed worthy of a tribute, then what does that say about the current status of female artists in the Rock Hall?

            As of this year, there are only 6 women on the 29-person Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. In order for more women to be nominated (and hopefully inducted), the Rock Hall needs to continue diversifying its Nominating Committee and ensure women have a fair chance. Despite its checked past honoring women, there is still time to salvage the Rock Hall’s gender disparity and one way to rectify their errors is to put Evelyn McDonnell on the 2020 Rock Hall Nominating Committee. She is an accomplished writer and a champion of women’s voices in the music industry. Her writings have sparked serious discussions about the representation of women through rock's history. Putting Evelyn McDonnell is a step forward for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and ensures more women will be included in the Nominating Committee's discussions. "Induct more women," said 2019 inductee Janet Jackson at the end of her acceptance speech as she challenged the Rock Hall to become more inclusive and honor women's accomplishments in the music industry. Hopefully they take Ms. Jackson's cue and nominate more women in 2020 than ever before. But in order for that this to transpire, all the discussions and decisions begin at the Nominating Committee meeting in early September and McDonnell deserves a seat at the table. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!