Miller Brewing Apologizes To African-Americans, Announces Concert With Wyclef & Others

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.

“Miller Brewing

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.

Marketing executives

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.

“We took

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."

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