The Blues Foundation has rescinded Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s 2021 Blues Music Awards nomination for Best Blues/Rock Artist. According to a statement from the organization, 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.”
The organization’s rescindment is in accordance with the Blues Foundation’s Statement Against Racism, which reads in part: “The Blues Foundation unequivocally condemns all forms and expressions of racism, including all symbols associated with white supremacy and the degradation of people of color. We will hold ourselves as well as all blues musicians, fans, organizations, and members of the music industry accountable for racist actions and encourage concrete commitments to acknowledge and redress the resulting pain.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Shepherd acknowledged the offensiveness of the flag on his car and said he had permanently covered it some time ago.
“We have been told this decision has been made because in recent days, concerns have been raised regarding one of the cars in my 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,” Shepherd said. “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.
“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.”
In addition to the Foundation’s rescindment of Shepherd’s nomination, the organization has asked Shepherd’s father, Ken Shepherd, to step down as a member of its Board of Directors. Ken Shepherd declined to comment on being asked to step down.