Ever since he first “let love rule” in 1989 on his debut album of the same name, Lenny Kravitz has been one of the biggest Black musicians to impact the predominately white genre of rock in the vain of legendary acts before him like Tina Turner, Prince and Jimi Hendrix. With plans next March to release Blue Electric Light, his longevity-defining 12th studio album, you would think the 59-year-old guitar hero would be in his Lifetime Achievement era at annual award ceremonies like the NAACP Awards, Soul Train Awards and especially the BET Awards.
Surprisingly enough, Kravitz recently argued the opposite in his Winter 2023 cover story for Esquire Magazine by stating that he’s actually received little to no Black media support at all; as he put, not one “BET thing.”
Reading into Kravitz’s comments regarding lack of Black media support, there’s room to see things from both sides. The plight of biracial musicians can oftentimes come with its fair share of identity issues when it comes to connecting with the community at large, as equally big pop stars like Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys for example have discussed in their own careers. However, where Mariah and Alicia both have cemented themselves at the forefront of Black music, which mainly favors hip-hop and R&B/soul, Kravitz hasn’t always shown the same representation in his career as a Black musician.
A look at the many beautiful models featured in his music videos over the years, for example, shows an interesting look at what catches his eye.
…we do give him props for embracing his Bahamian roots in the 1998 video for “I Belong To You” though, and featuring Bermudian beauty Aliana King in his 2020 video for “Ride”:
While it’s true that Kravitz’s only nominations when it comes to Black award ceremonies are for his supporting acting roles in Precious (2009) and The Hunger Games (2012) — none for music, unfortunately — can it be argued that his rock-fueled artistry overall might’ve been too fast-paced to properly build a Black audience? We believe all artists from our culture should feel accepted in the community, but you’ve also got to give a little to get a little, right?
Take a look below at what the masses are saying about Lenny Kravitz and his feelings on lack of Black media support, and sound off with your own thoughts as well:
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Is Lenny Kravitz Invited To The Cookout? Rock Icon’s Black Media Support Complaint Sparks Debate was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
1. Not sure why he’d be invited to a hip hop awards show when he makes rock but he definitely should’ve been invited to the BET Awards
2. This stood out to me because, for years, I’ve wondered when BET would honor Lenny Kravitz. I don’t expect white institutes to give him recognition, but BET and black publications should celebrate his artistry. Lenny doesn’t make R&B, but rock is OUR genre.
3. Lenny Kravitz is right. He’s been ignored by black media despite his consistency in putting out good music.
4. That Esquire piece on Lenny Kravitz is so so good. Never thought about the fact that black media largely ignored him his entire career. Crazy
5. BET has not even invited Robert Glasper to perform at the awards let alone Lenny Kravitz, and so many other Black musicians who’ve shifted the cultural landscape over the past 40 yrs.
6. He has a right to feel that way. I hate how black outlets overlook black rock artists. How are we not lifting up Lenny Kravitz and Gary Clarke Jr??!!
7. Spare thoughts about the Lenny Kravitz article. He’s right about our failure to acknowledge his work and accomplishments. But I care more about this for our sake than his bruised ego. Because I’ve never gotten the impression he cared about community.
8. This is layered b/c the goal for many artist that only got video spins on BET in the 90s/00s was to have cross over/commercial success. Lenny Kravitz had/had commercial success, he wasn’t ever marketed to a black audience & his label/team could be the blame for that
9. He’s talked about not liking being identified as Black growing up. Why then should Black identified outlets reach out to him or feature him?
10. Black outlets did my dog Lenny Kravitz dirty, man