Presenter Kelly Rowland speaks on stage at the 28th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 18, 2013 in Los Angeles, California
*The 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place Thursday night at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater, honoring Donna Summer, Public Enemy, Quincy Jones, Albert King, Heart, Randy Newman, Rush and Lou Adler.
Kelly Rowland and Jennifer Hudson were among the celebs ushering Summer into the Rock Hall, while Public Enemy’s Chuck D recalled his own adoration for Summer, who died on May 17, 2012. “I would’ve loved to do ‘The Hustle’ with her,” he said of his dream collaborations with this year’s class. “I had a big crush on Donna Summer my whole life.”
Inductee Chuck D of Public Enemy speaks in the press room at the 28th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 18, 2013 in Los Angeles
Spike Lee – dressed in his Mookie getup from “Do The Right Thing,” joined Harry Belafonte to induct Public Enemy. Chuck D definitely won the award for best speech in the press room, according to The Hollywood Reporter, as he poked fun at Flavor Flav’s rambling acceptance, which ran some 30 minutes long. But D felt that was precisely his longtime bandmate’s purpose: to confound.
“His job is to make you go ‘What the f—?’”
Oprah Winfrey and Usher helped Quincy Jones enter the Rock Hall. View more event and press room pics from last night below.
Public Enemy presenters Harry Belafonte (L) and Spike Lee
(L-R) Inductees Flava Flav, Professor Griff and Chuck D accept award on stage at the 28th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 18, 2013 in Los Angeles
Singer Jennifer Hudson performs
Quincy Jones presenter Oprah Winfrey
Singer Usher presents inductee Quincy Jones (L) the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement
(L-R) Evelyn Smith and Alice Johnson accept award on behalf of Albert King
*Singer-songwriter Randy Newman has some things to say about race relations in America through a new piano tune he wrote called “I’m Dreaming,” which features the refrain: “I’m dreaming of a white president.”
The lyrics refer to someone who votes for the president because he is white.
Newman, who is white, is openly supporting President Barack Obama. He says he wants the public to find comedic relief in the song, but to also know he’s serious about his thoughts that racism is still prevalent in the world — and in the current presidential race. He called racism “the great issue of this country.”
“I felt that that sentiment exists in the country,” Newman said in an interview with the Associated Press Monday. “I don’t know how many people you can get to admit it. I think maybe zero.”
The song will be released as a free download today and Newman is encouraging listeners to donate to the United Negro College Fund.
“I’m Dreaming” features lyrics like: “He won’t be the brightest, perhaps, but he’ll be the whitest, and I’ll vote for that.” He said as he wrote the song the lyrics “didn’t come that easy.”
“It’s delicate enough that I’m going to offend people every which way, but I wanted to get it right as best I could,” said Newman, who added that he’s always worried there may be some backlash following the release of a song like this one.
Newman believes Obama will be re-elected in November and feels that Republican contender Mitt Romney isn’t a “serious candidate for president.”
Newman said he’s proud of how America has progressed, though, but adds that “there’s a long way to go.”
“No European country would have elected a black man,” he said. “I can’t believe it happened. I think it’s fantastic, like a step on the moon.”
Newman, 68, has won multiple Academy Awards, Grammys and Emmys for composing music for movies such as “Cars,” ”Monsters, Inc.,” the “Toy Story” franchise and the TV series “Monk.” He often writes songs from the perspective of a character not like himself. “Short People,” the 1977 No. 2 Billboard hit, attacked short people. And “Sail Away” is a come on from a slave trader to a potential slave.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee said some friends told him to save “I’m Dreaming” — which he wrote a couple weeks ago — for an upcoming album, but he says releasing it now is perfect timing.
“I think it’s for the moment,” he said. “It’s not going to live forever.”