Accused of Racism, Kenny Wayne Shepherd Loses Blues Nomination
Guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd was recently nominated for a 2021 Blues Music Award in the category of Best Blues/Rock Artist. Now the Blues foundation, which hosts the June BMA's, have rescinded that nomination. Why? The organization believes Shepherd is racist.
According to Rolling Stone, the decision was made over Confederate flag imagery displayed on Shepherd’s The Dukes of Hazzard “General Lee” car replica, and on “guitars and elsewhere.”
Kenny Wayne responded to the news on his Facebook page;
I want to make something very clear and unequivocal; I condemn and stand in complete opposition to all forms of racism and oppression and always have.
So what about this "Dukes of Hazzard" car? I recall interviewing Kenny a number of years ago and talking about his love for the sitcom. Shepherd says this is one of many in his muscle car collection.
The car was built 17 years ago as a replica and homage to the iconic car in the television series, The Dukes of Hazzard. That CBS show was one of the highest rated and most popular programs of its era and like millions of others, I watched it every week. In the show, one of the central ‘characters’ was a muscle car which displayed a confederate flag on its roof. Years ago I put that car in permanent storage and some time ago, I made the decision to permanently cover the flag on my car because it was completely against my values and offensive to the African American community which created the music I love so much and I apologize to anyone that I have unintentionally hurt because of it.
Even though I have met Kenny Wayne Shepherd a handful of times I do not know him. However, he was always polite, professional and respectful to me and always paid tribute to those that came before him. This is the same Kenny Wayne Shepherd that released 10 Days Out: Blues From the Backroads. A tribute to the blues and blues artists.
Billy Cox from the Jimi Hendrix Experience defended Shepherd's character on his Facebook page.
I value Kenny Wayne Shepherd's talent as an artist, respect and applaud the way he treats his family and fellow man. All else, Kenny Wayne Shepherd should be STONE FREE to do as he pleases.
Is the loss of nomination warranted? Should he have known better? Is this cancel culture? Does this mean Kenny Wayne Shepherd is not one of the Best Blues/Rock Artists of 2021?
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