TAUPIN'S JAB AT JANN

Somebody had to say it.

During the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Brooklyn's Barclays Center Friday night (11/3), inductee Bernie Taupin elated the crowd when he took a subtle jab at Jann Wenner, who in September was removed from the board of the RRHOF Foundation following comments he made to The New York Times about Black and women artists.

After a moving introduction by Elton John, his songwriting partner of more than 50 years, Taupin took the podium to reflect on his career. But he also seized the moment to address the proverbial elephant in the room.

Wenner was promoting his new book, The Masters, when he said his seven subjects—all white men—were chosen because female musicians weren't “articulate enough on this intellectual level.” He also stated that Black artists “just didn’t articulate at that level.” Wenner later apologized and acknowledged that he would “accept the consequences" of his words. Evidently, those consequences include a public lashing from one of music's most prolific (and beloved) songwriters.

“Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, are you listening?" Taupin asked. "I acknowledge all these people because they and so many others are why I write. I guess you could say my being inducted is a paradox, perhaps, but either way, I’m honored to be in the class of 2023 alongside a group of such profoundly articulate women and outstanding articulate Black artists along with all of the other music masters here tonight.”

When Taupin uttered the word "articulate," he used air quotes (and deployed the descriptor "masters") to ensure that the audience understood exactly what he was referring to. It was one of the more memorable speeches during the four-hour show.

Bernie, take a bow.

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