Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Blues Music Awards Nomination Rescinded over Confederate Flag Imagery

"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"
Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Blues Music Awards Nomination Rescinded over Confederate Flag Imagery
Photo: Abby Gillardi
Ahead of handing out the hardware at the Blues Music Awards this June, the Blues Foundation has rescinded Kenny Wayne Shepherd's 2021 Blues Music Awards nomination for Best Blues/Rock Artist.

In a statement, the Blues Foundation explains that the decision to rescind the nomination is "based upon continuing revelations of representations of the Confederate flag on Shepherd's own "General Lee" replica car and on "guitars and elsewhere."

The decision was made in keeping with the Blues Foundation's recently published 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 shared with Rolling Stone, Shepherd acknowledged the offensiveness of the flag and said he had permanently covered the flag on his car "years 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 something of a two-birds-one-stone moment, the Blues Foundation notes that it has "asked Ken Shepherd, father of Kenny Wayne Shepherd, to step down as a member of its Board of Directors," in efforts to "contribute to a more equitable blues community."