Miller Brewing Company
announced a two-day concert highlighting the contributions of African-Americans
in Rock & Roll music, amidst criticism of a commemorative can series honoring
50 years of rock & roll music that only featured white artists.
Wyclef Jean, Bo
Diddley, James Brown, Lenny Kravitz and others will participate in an end of
the summer concert, the culmination of the promotion.
Company sincerely apologizes to the African-American community, to music fans
and to our valued consumers for this occurrence,” the company said in
a statement. “African Americans obviously have played a formative role
in the development of rock ‘n roll, and despite our efforts, we did not manage
this component of the promotion appropriately.
The eight-can series
is collaboration with Rolling Stone magazine. The beer cans feature cover images
from the weekly publication.
The promotion started
in May with images of Elvis Presley, Rick Nelson, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Alice
Cooper and Blondie on the beer cans. The other two images are guitars.
for Miller and Rolling Stone both agreed that business and not race played a
factor in the glaring omissions.
"On the marketing
side, anything we do with these covers, we need the artist’s permission,”
Gary Armstrong, chief marketing officer for Wenner Media, which publishes Rolling
Stone, told MTV. “Jimi Hendrix’s estate declined participation. Some artists
wanted fees, and we weren’t paying people to participate. Some had rehab issues,
and they didn’t want to align with an alcohol product."
Miller said that
cans are just one part of a multi-pronged campaign and that other events pay
proper tribute to African-American artists.
a hard look at the situation and realize where we fell short,” Virgis
Colbert, Miller’s executive vice president of worldwide operations said. “You
can count on Miller to step up."