Whitney Houston and Notorious B.I.G. are among the 2020 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. 

This year’s class was announced Wednesday morning by President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Greg Harris. 

Both the “Run To You” singer and the “Hypnotize” rapper are first-time nominees.  Inductees are chosen because of their “significant impact and influence on music” as Harris said during the announcement video. According to the website, the Hall’s mission is to inspire, teach and engage people through music. They also aim to highlight people and music that shaped the world’s history. 

The nominating committee consists of about 30 artists, scholars and industry insiders, reports NPR. About 1,000 people get to vote once the final ballot is created. Voters include artists, writers, people in the recording company and every person who’s ever been inducted. 


The Rock Hall has faced criticism regarding often overlooking women and people of color for nominations. Women constitute less than 8% of all inductees, and people of color make up about 32%, according to Longreads. As of 2019’s class of inductees, only 69 of the 888 people inducted had been women. The representation of women of color in the Hall is extremely small. 

Last year, when inducted, Janet Jackson ended her acceptance speech by asking the committee to "induct more women." Stevie Nicks, also inducted in 2019, asked the same.  


Rock Hall Foundation CEO, Joel Peresman was not surprised by Jackson and Nicks’ pleas, saying that a surplus of all-male bands has distorted the numbers. 

“We're trying to make this as gender-neutral as possible and just look at as: the criteria of being inducted is quality of work," Peresman said. "And if it's male or female ... that's the criteria."

Jann Wenner, former Rock Hall board chair said nominations are also racially neutral in an interview with Billboard. Craig Werner, a professor and music writer, says that the issue lies within the voting, not necessarily the nomination process. 

"The nominating committee, I think reflects a good sense, a contentious sense, sometimes, of what rock and roll history is. The electorate, I think, does not," Werner said. "I think that it adheres to a very white-boys-with-guitars and hip-hop that fits into that mythology. It marginalizes women. It marginalizes artists whose core audience is in the African-American community. And it almost entirely ignores Latin.”

Rufus featuring Chaka Khan was also considered for induction this year, according to Refinery 29. This marked her sixth consideration. Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Gladys Knight are among the small pool of Black women already inducted. 

Daphne Brooks, who has written on the intersectionality of race and gender in the music industry, is hopeful about the future of women in the Rock Hall. 

"So for instance, a couple of years ago now, we have the induction, posthumously, of Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe," Brooks said. "That's a kind of work that should continue, I think, to be done."

The induction ceremony will be held on May 2 at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio, reports CBS. The 35th annual ceremony will be broadcasted live for the first time on HBO. This year’s class also includes Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and T. Rex.