N.W.A. In And Janet Jackson Blocked: Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Gets It Right

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductees were announced this morning. Rolling Stone broke the news.

“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has officially announced next year’s inductees: Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, N.W.A and Steve Miller will all join the class of 2016. They will be inducted April 8th during a ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, with tickets on sale to the public in February. HBO will broadcast the show in the Spring.”

It was expected that Janet Jackson would be the first choice for one of the nominees, but music fans should be thankful she was ignored. Let’s face it: Janet Jackson’s comeback campaign has been underwhelming, and it’s not because she didn’t deliver; Unbreakable is one of the best albums of the year. However, the way Janet’s comeback was handled should force the singer to fire her PR team and management.

Instead of concentrating on Janet’s strengths, which she still has, we were given articles, most likely influenced by her PR team, on how Janet is more important than Madonna, how Janet Jackson is aging better than Madonna, and how Madonna needs to learn about comebacks from Janet. Given the fact that Madonna’s tour is selling far better than Janet’s (Some of Janet’s small dates haven’t even sold out, and others, for peculiar reasons, haven’t even been reported) and her album is outselling Janet’s (Rebel Heart has sold 850,000 copies worldwide — underwhelming, but better than the 350,000 copies Unbreakable has sold), Janet’s PR team has made Ms. Jackson look desperate.

When you have to prop up a star by diminishing the achievements of another, things don’t look right. The journalists who participated in this unethical marketing campaign may have (nobody knows for sure) received a lot of cash and other freebies, but hurt Janet’s chances of getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Voters needed to be reminded of Janet’s legacy (which she has), her sometimes amazing music (Velvet Rope is one of the best albums ever made), and her wild performances (just do a YouTube search). Instead, they remember an unethical and sexist marketing campaign in which another female singer was tarnished in order for Janet to look relevant. This isn’t the 1980s anymore, and we don’t need to pit two women against each other.

In terms of album sales, Unbreakable fell apart as soon as albums were “bundled” in with t-shirts and even Uber rides (the $3.50 “service charge” is what is needed for Billboard to count an album as a sale). Janet Jackson is actually above all of this and, after reassessing her current team, will hopefully get into the Hall of Fame next year.

By contrast, N.W.A. deserves their entry this year. No, they are not the first thing people think of when they hear the term “Rock and Roll,” but they represent everything “Rock and Roll” is about: rebelliousness, social activism, talent, and influence. It’s not that Janet doesn’t have these qualities. However, N.W.A. constantly reminded us of these qualities this year. Of course, they also had the movie Straight Outta Compton to help their marketing campaign. But we weren’t pushed with think-pieces on how N.W.A. is more relevant than the Beastie Boys or how Run D.M.C. could learn from N.W.A. Instead, we became more familiar with what made and what still makes N.W.A. great.

Even though Janet Jackson didn’t get in the Hall of Fame this year, she should still be happy about her nomination. Other influential female singers such as Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey haven’t even been nominated. Janet Jackson’s first step into guaranteeing a place in the Hall of Fame next year should be to denounce all the think pieces condemning other female singers in order to explain why Ms. Jackson was robbed of inclusion this year.

[Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images Entertainment]