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Kenny Wayne Shepherd has his Blues Music Awards nomination revoked over Confederate flag image controversy

Kenny Wayne Shepherd
(Image credit: Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

Kenny Wayne Shepherd's nomination at the 2021 Blues Music Awards has been cancelled after the Blues Foundation expressed outrage at his use of Confederate Flag imagery.

In a statement, the Blues Foundation, the awards' sponsor said, “The decision to rescind the nomination was based upon continuing revelations of representations of the Confederate flag on Shepherd’s 'General Lee' car, guitars and elsewhere.“ 

The Blues Foundation also announced that Shepherd's father, Ken Shepherd, has been asked to resign his membership of the organisation's board of directors.

Shepherd had been nominated for Blues Rock Artist of the Year, and responded to the controversy on Facebook

“The car was built 17 years ago as a replica and homage to the iconic car in the television series, The Dukes Of Hazzard,“ he wrote. “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 apologise to anyone that I have unintentionally hurt because of it.“

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 apologise to anyone that I have unintentionally hurt

“I want to make something very clear and unequivocal,“ continued Shepherd. “I condemn and stand in complete opposition to all forms of racism and oppression and always have.“

On Monday 15 March, the Blues Foundation released a statement saying that the organisation “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, organisations, and members of the music industry accountable for racist actions and encourage concrete commitments to acknowledge and redress the resulting pain.“

The 42nd Blues Music Awards 2021 will be held digitally on 6 June, with Tinsley Ellis , Reverend Peyton, Ana Popovic and Mike Zito contesting the Best Blues Rock Artist category.