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High-profile women stand out on the 2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame shortlist

This combination of photos shows, from left, Mary J. Blige, Cher, and Mariah Carey, who are among the 2024 nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
This combination of photos shows, from left, Mary J. Blige, Cher, and Mariah Carey, who are among the 2024 nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for its class of 2024 on Saturday.

Two-thirds of the artists on the list for "rock's highest honor" are first time nominees, and many are women.

Mariah Carey, Cher, Sinéad O'Connor, and Sade made the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's inductee shortlist for the first time, and Mary J. Blige made a reappearance.

Other nominees for 2024 include Dave Matthews Band, Eric B. & Rakim, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Jane's Addiction, Kool & the Gang, Lenny Kravitz, Oasis, Ozzy Osbourne and A Tribe Called Quest.

According to the Hall of Fame, artists must have released their first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination to be considered.

These high-profile nominations of women, including women of color, are notable for an institution that has received criticism for years for its focus on white male artists.

"It is something that has come up in the past," said Rock & Roll Hall of Fame President and CEO Greg Harris in an interview with NPR. "And quite frankly, in recent years, the nominating committee and the voting body have definitely been electing more diverse members. More female artists are being inducted as well as more people of color."

According to data shared by the Hall of Fame, from 2021 to 2023, 33% of the inductees were female and 48% were people of color. Whereas over the years between the first the Hall of Fame inductions, in 1986, and 2020, only 13% of inductees were female, while 37% were people of color.

"We continue to work to recognize and honor the impact and influence of Female artists by inducting more into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," the Hall of Fame wrote in a statement. "As our past three inductee classes have shown, we are committed to making a difference in this area."

But at least one artist has yet to be appeased by this commitment.

On the Kelly Clarkson Show in late December, Cher, one of the world's best-selling musicians with multiple accolades to her name, expressed anger at being shut out of the Hall of Fame for so long.

"You know what? I wouldn't be in it now if they paid me a million dollars," Cher said. "I'm not kidding you."

The Hall of Fame's Harris said if Cher is selected, he hopes she'll change her mind. "She's a terrific nominee. Certainly belongs on this ballot."

Cher's publicist did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment about the singer's nomination.

The new batch of inductees will be announced in April. A group of more than 1,000 artists, historians, and members of the music industry votes on the final inductees. The 2024 induction ceremony is scheduled to take place in the fall in Cleveland, Ohio, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's home.

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Chloe Veltman
Chloe Veltman is a correspondent on NPR's Culture Desk.