Kenny Wayne Shepherd was stripped Thursday of his nomination for 2021 Blues Rock Artist of the Year over concerns involving the renowned guitarist and his usage of Confederate imagery.
The Blues Foundation said it rescinded Mr. Shepherd‘s nomination in light of “continuing revelations of representations of the Confederate flag” on his automobile, guitars and elsewhere.
Mr. Shepherd, a two-time Blues Awards winner, said in a statement the decision was made because of concerns involving a replica he owns of the “General Lee” car from the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV series.
The 43-year-old blues guitarist acknowledged his Dodge Charger had a Confederate battle flag painted on its roof similar to the one in the show, but he said that it has since been covered up.
“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,” Mr. Shepherd said in the statement.
“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,” Mr. Shepherd added.
The Blues Foundation, the nonprofit organization that presents the award, originally announced in late January that Mr. Shepherd would be among the contenders for 2021 Blues Rock Artist of the Year.
A widely shared social media post credited to the granddaughter of late blues guitarist Muddy Waters later asked why Mr. Shepherd was eligible for having “proudly displayed” the Confederate flag.
“If one of the whitest institutions in American history, NASCAR, can ban the Confederate Flag, Blues Foundation, why can’t you?” the post said in part.
The Blues Foundation subsequently issued a statement Monday condemning “all forms and expressions of racism, including all symbols associated with white supremacy and the degradation of people of color.” It rescinded Mr. Shepherd‘s nomination three days later.
The 42nd Blues Awards will be broadcast online on June 6.