As we previously reported, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was scheduled to induct its new 2020 class in person on May 2. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show was forced to reschedule and go virtual.
The virtual ceremony show aired this past Saturday, Nov. 7th on HBO.
Considering the risk, the show opted out of live performances. Without the performances, it gave the show an opportunity to give each inductee a more in-depth explanation of their career and their impact on music.
Three of this year’s six inductees, Whitney Houston, Biggie Smalls, and TRex, were honored posthumously. The highlight of the show was when the artist’s relatives accepted the award and delivered an acceptance speech on their behalf.
The legendary Queen of R&B, Whitney Houston was introduced by singer Alicia Keys, who said Houston’s “unprecedented success brought Black women into the absolute highest reaches of the music industry’s pantheon.” Houstons 87-year old mother, Cissy Houston, and sister-in-law, Pat Houston accepted the award on her behalf. Pat reflected on her time spent with the legend, telling the cameras, “this is something Whitney always wanted.” Pat reveals that Houston considered the Hall of Fame Induction “the only thing missing” from her career. Whitney’s mother Cissy showed her gratitude for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducting her daughter, stating “I’m proud of who she was, I’m proud that you took it and did what you were supposed to do.”
The Notorious B.I.G
NYC’s Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls was the only rapper inducted into this year’s hall of fame. His short but widely impactful career earned praise from fellow NYC musical icons Jay Z, Nas, and close friend Sean “Diddy” Combs. ‘Hamilton’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda referred to the rapper’s delivery of words as the “undisputed sound of New York.” Smalls’ children, T’yanna Wallace and C.J. Wallace accepted the award on their father’s behalf.
“When my father passed away, I was only 3 years old,” says T’yanna. “Even though I didn’t get to know him as well as I wanted, through his fans and my family, I was able to see with my own eyes that his music transcended the hip-hop industry. He was able to not just become the king of New York, but the King of the Culture.”
To watch all of the acceptance speeches and understand the musical impact of the new members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, click here.