The rock star opened up about his frustrations in the winter 2023 cover story of 'Esquire'
Lenny Kravitz is opening up about a frustration he’s had throughout his career.
In the winter 2023 issue of Esquire, the rock star, 59, spoke candidly about his life and career since breaking out in the ‘90s, and revealed that he feels as though his music and success “is not celebrated by the folks who run” Black publications and organizations.
The Grammy winner explained to Esquire that he feels like outlets that could have recognized him and his work over the years have not. In addition to the musician mentioning that the magazine Vibe didn’t put him on their cover until nearly a decade into his career, he offered several other examples. Kravitz said, “To this day, I have not been invited to a BET thing or a Source Awards thing.”
The "It Ain't Over 'til It's Over" artist continued, “And it’s like, here is a Black artist who has reintroduced many Black art forms, who has broken down barriers — just like those that came before me broke down. That is positive. And they don’t have anything to say about it?”
“I have been that dream and example of what a Black artist can do,” he added.
The hitmaker also expressed how challenging it was to feel like he was underestimated by white critics when he debuted. “There was this one article that, at that time, said, ‘If Lenny Kravitz were white, he would be the next savior of rock ’n’ roll,’” he said. “I got a lot of negativity thrown at me by all these older white men who weren’t going to let me have that position.”
Although the “Fly Away” singer spoke about his frustrations, he shared that he’s “not here for the accolades.”
“I’m here for the experience,” he continued.
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Throughout his career, Kravitz has received nine Grammy nominations, including for wins for best male rock vocal performance.
As for the nods he's garnered from Black organizations, the singer/actor received a single nomination from the BET Soul Train Awards back in 2018 for the Soul Train certified award and has earned nods for his accomplishments in film.
According to IMDb, he was nominated by the NAACP Image Awards for outstanding supporting actor in a motion picture in 2010 and 2013 for Precious and The Hunger Games, respectively, and twice by the Black Reel Awards (including best supporting actor for Precious in 2010 and outstanding song for The Butler’s "You and I Ain't No More" in 2014).
Next year, the performer will release his 12th studio album Blue Electric Light (via Roxie and BMG). The record — due March 15 — marks his first full-length album in over five years, following 2018's Raise Vibration and 2014's Strut.
Kravitz shared new music was on the way in mid-October when he dropped the lead single for the highly anticipated record, “TK421.” He released it along with a NSFW music video in which he bared all while rocking out to the catchy tune.
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