Lenny Kravitz: ‘To this day, I have not been invited to a BET thing or Source Awards’

Lenny Kravitz covers the Winter Issue of Esquire, ahead of the release of his first album in five years. Lenny is forever – the coolest cat, genuinely talented, respected by his peers and adored by women. He’s also been, historically, sort of an idiosyncratic character, but I found this Esquire interview really interesting and direct. He’s not stuck up his own ass – he talks about the racism he faced in the white rock establishment, while he was also being ignored by Black entertainment outlets. He also talked a lot about how much the LGBTQ+ community has meant to him and been his family from the start. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

On struggling to be taken seriously by the rock-critic establishment: “There was this one article that, at that time, said, ‘If Lenny Kravitz were white, he would be the next savior of rock ’n’ roll.’ I got a lot of negativity thrown at me by all these older white men who weren’t going to let me have that position…It was discouraging at times. I’m good. Intact—happy, healthy, focused, with still so much to do.”

On his treatment by Black entertainment and culture outlets: “To this day, I have not been invited to a BET thing or a Source Awards thing. And it’s like, here is a Black artist who has reintroduced many Black art forms, who has broken down barriers—just like those that came before me broke down. That is positive. And they don’t have anything to say about it?… I’m not here for the accolades. I’m here for the experience.”

On the people he used to surround himself with early in his career: “I got burned. Completely. I put it all out there, and I put it all out there in a way for people to take advantage of it. I was an empty vessel…Saying no is very difficult for me. I was like that from childhood. My mom used to call me the Pied Piper. I’d bring everybody home. Just met them a few hours ago? I bring them home. I love people. I always have loved people.”

On the recent racist and misogynistic comments from Rolling Stone founder and former editor-in-chief Jann Wenner: “It’s very disappointing and sad. I’ve known Jann since 1987. I’ve been to his house. In his life. I was disappointed. I was very disappointed. The statement alone, even if you just heard about the man yesterday, was appalling and embarrassing. And just wrong.”

On how the LGBTQ+ community has been a big influence on his life: “Not only in fashion and style, because that’s just something on top. They raised me. I was in the street—my choice—and it was the eighties in West Hollywood. It was that time; artists, musicians, hairstylists, and designers, those were the people I was hanging out with. I wanted to be around the creatives, and most of the people I met were from that community. [They] protected me. Educated me. Fed me.”

On the infidelity “word curse” his father put on him: “I felt it when he said it, but the shock waves lasted decades and got stronger and stronger and stronger…I put some people through some hard times.”

On getting married again: “Absolutely. I’ve grown enough. I’ve become stronger. I’ve become more disciplined. I’ve become more open to be able to do so. But it’s been a very difficult thing for me to figure out.”

On being open to having more kids: “I could not, and I could. If it doesn’t happen, I’ve done the best with Zoë that I could ever dream to do. If I was with somebody that wanted to have kids, absolutely. A hundred percent.”

On his grueling touring schedule: “Your whole life is centered around being able to do those two and a half hours every night. So you don’t hang out. You don’t smoke. You don’t drink. You don’t talk a lot. You’ve got to get your sleep.”

[From Esquire]

59 years old and he’s not ready to say for-sure that he won’t have another kid? Eh. Honestly, though, it’s surprising that Zoe is his only child, just as it feels strange that Lisa Bonet was his only wife. Maybe that marriage was so monumental, he never could manage to repeat the energy. Do you think he’ll eventually remarry? Hm. I would marry him just for access to his amazing real estate. And of course, he’s Lenny and he’s still got “it.” That being said, he knows he’s a compulsive cheater and he knows he put a lot of women through a lot of tough times. Does his real estate portfolio make up for it though??

Cover and photos courtesy of Norman Jean Roy for Esquire received via promotional email.

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40 Responses to “Lenny Kravitz: ‘To this day, I have not been invited to a BET thing or Source Awards’”

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Wasn’t Lenny engaged to Nicole Kidman?

    • OriginalLeigh says:

      Yes. He was also engaged to Adriana Lima.

    • Persephone says:

      Not engaged. I think they were just dating for a while

      • Jaded says:

        Actually it was Nicole herself who mentioned that they were engaged for a while. Don’t know why it didn’t work out, but she dodged a bullet IMHO as he’s a notorious philanderer.

    • Yup, Me says:

      Lenny Kravitz is a beautiful man but the fuckboi vibes are hella strong with him. Damn near 60 and he’s still misunderstood romantically AND ostracized ethnically? The sexy bad boy outsider is his branding, sure, but if he still believes those things to be true, it shows an appalling lack of personal growth for someone with so much time to spend in self exploratory navel gazing.

      If people tend to get stunted at the age/development where they achieve fame and fortune, then Lenny is forever in his 20s (interestingly, also a decade where one often feels at the mercy of everyone else around them).

      Old men still chasing their youth aren’t sexy. If Lenny wants to be a good time (not a lifetime) then he should just start saying that. Bring a new narrative to the table.

  2. Amy Bee says:

    Lenny Kravitz’ should take up his complaints with his agent and manager.

    • Duchess of Hazard says:

      @amybee agreed. We hear stories about black journalists trying to reach out to black celebrities only to be blocked by their white publicists or agents. You even see them hurrying past black journalists on the red carpet. This is why Rihanna and Jon Batiste get love from say, essence because the stars will find them every time. Same thing for Halle Berry, she will cross the aisle and be interviewed by a black outlet everytime.

      So the problem might be his team?

      • Robert says:

        I think the issue he is dancing around is the fact that his father is white. I don’t think it has anything to do with not giving access. Especially noting his own comments about how he’d been called the pied piper by his mom…

      • Debbie says:

        @Robert: While it’s true, Lenny was referring to the issue of race, but Black people as a group will not ostracize someone simply because one of their parents is White. My goodness, most Black people in America are accustomed to that and they are used to having multi-colored people in their own families (even when they all identify as Black there are usually many hues there). So, I will go out on a limb even though I don’t work for the companies he named as not inviting him to their award functions, it would not because one of his parents was White, like Halle Berry for instance who they claim and enjoy a fine relationship with.

    • Dee(2) says:

      He really should. Also he should take a step back and ask why they didn’t prioritize him doing more black media in the past. I vaguely remember him being on the cover of Vibe and maybe Ebony but I also could be making that up in my head. He’s the artist and not a newbie if he wants more face time with the black community he needs to make it a priority for his team.

    • Debbie says:

      @Amy Bee and Duchess of Hazard, I suspect that’s where the issue lies. Maybe his manager and his behind the scene people intentionally maintained some distance between Lenny and BET and other Black media because they were more concerned about appealing to the White establishment. After all, throughout the 80s and 90s places like MTV were the gatekeepers and didn’t feature anything but White artists. They even kept Micheal Jackson from their lineup until he released the Thriller album and it was what all the youngsters wanted to listen to and they looked stodgy and left out for sticking to their old model.

    • Honey says:

      Yep. I was on a Twitter thread either this last month or the earlier part of this month and that was the consensus—for a number of reasons.

      BTW, it doesn’t make the reality less real but I refuse to call Twitter by its new name. There were sections that were a racist & misogynistic cesspool but it was a great international community of people who shared their knowledge, interests, and talents with the world. It was also a great place to have a conversation about those things as well.

  3. goofpuff says:

    Lenny is the guy who is your best friend, or maybe friends with benefits. But never your boyfriend or husband unless you want to be constantly heartbroken (unless you’re ok with a very open relationship).

  4. It’s a shame that the white and black community have problems with him. He is a very talented man plays many instruments and writes and performs all instruments on his albums. I love most of his music. I wish him well.

    • OriginalLeigh says:

      I don’t think Lenny is saying that the Black community as a whole has a problem with him. He only referenced certain Black entertainment outlets. That said, I think he would have been welcomed at the Source Awards and BET Awards had they known he was interested in attending. Like AmyBee said above, it was likely a failure of his agent and manager.

  5. SummerMoomin says:

    I haven’t liked Lenny Kravitz since he stole Ingrid Chavez’ song Justify My Love, that she wrote as a *lovesong to him* and sold it to Madonna pressurizing Ingrid to give up her credit and her royalties. Luckily she sued him for the money but she’s never been given her due credit for that song. Anyone who likes Justify My Love should listen to her album May 19 1992

    • Reborn Rich says:

      So he stole my favorite LK song?

      • SummerMoomin says:

        Yep. Ingrid Chavez is super talented but she’s always been seen as secondary to the men around her, chiefly Prince and David Sylvian. Kravitz stealing her biggest song and getting all the kudos for it really didn’t help her career! So in all this time she’s only released a handful of records.

    • Lala11_7 says:

      I remember when that BS happened to Ingrid …LAWD I ALWAYS FELT SO BAD FOR HER HAVING TO DEAL WITH 2 OF THE BIGGEST SEXIST MEGALOMANIACS IN THE 🌍 IN HER CAREER😠 And I lost a LOT OF RESPECT for Madonna behind that shit too 😒 And him saying he’s NOW READY…as an OLD ASS MAN…to find someone YOUNG enough to be his daughter so he can settle down & have kids & a wife after YEARS of being a fuckboi to Women …made me😡🥵

      • Natys says:

        He has a new girlfriend. She’s a model and very young (23 ), he’s 59. He’s hiding her but she posted some photos of them together on Instagram and there are some video on tiktok. I mean, his girlfriend is 12 years younger than his own daughter

  6. LooneyTunes says:

    If that’s true, it may be bc his music sounds so “white” (the present’s version of white—we know Hendrix and others actually originated the sound, which was then popularized by white musicians in the 60’s) and they figured he wasn’t trying to appeal to Black music buyers.

  7. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    So here I am, a 66 year old white woman, who gets this growly thing in my *ahem* nether regions when I see Lenny.
    Not sorry

    Also. I am not a big fan of remakes but his American Woman version? Yes please all day. Every day.

  8. Tursitops says:

    Talent, fame, charm and riches are not a pixie dust that can be liberally sprinkled over a relationship stained by infidelity. I’m sure that many men think that way, and hope that it will work, but hope is not a plan.

    If Lenny truly wants a monogamous relationship, then he needs to do the work. If he doesn’t, that’s okay, as long as everyone knows the parameters of what he is willing to offer.

    Relationships aren’t one size-fits-all; there are many different dynamics that could work given the right parties and the right circumstances. The key is to know the rules before the game starts.

    • girl_ninja says:

      If Lenny truly wants a monogamous relationship, then he needs to do the work. If he doesn’t, that’s okay, as long as everyone knows the parameters of what he is willing to offer.

      Excactly. It’s a deciding how to fix that part of him. I think for the men who don’t cheat, they make a choice NOT to. Be a grown up, get help and move on.

  9. JaneS says:

    Mmmm, Lenny.
    LK is still a very good looking man.
    That’s all I came to say.

  10. Barbie1 says:

    Blaming his infidelity problems on his dad is a very strange choice.

  11. Coconut says:

    Aside from the stuff about BET, there is not much new in this piece. Most of what he says in interviews over the decades is recycled content and variations on the same themes. I think he got burned by the media glare early on and decided he wasn’t going to share much going forward.

    Based on my research, I believe he was in a committed relationship with one woman ~2008-2018, but since the Adriana Lima era (2001), he keeps spinning the thread that he would love to meet that special someone and marry again bla bla bla. Occasionally there are photos of him with young (white) model types (cough Leo cough). What are the odds that someone of his physique, personality and means hasn’t met “the one” or even “a one” in over 20 years? lol

  12. Macky says:

    1. Don’t believe his sob stories. Nothing is ever his fault and he is so misunderstood.
    Blaming his dad for infidelity. That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in 2023. I hope a Kravitz is alive to get him for that. Lol.

    2. His father worked for NBC News and other stuff. He could’ve hopped on stage at the bet awards if he wanted. He went to award shows. He probably wanted to be treated like Prince.

    3. He has a history of borrowing or grifting money and not repaying it. Asking people to invest in him and its just literally fixing him up.

  13. Kathryn says:

    There was a huge backlash about his supposedly being shut out of black entertainment/culture outlets, with people posting pictures of him on the cover of Ebony, black music media and more. His team apparently went out of its way to avoid black coverage. While Lenny is a beautiful looking person, his music hasn’t been all that good or relevant for years now IMO

  14. Flower says:

    Lenny and Zoe are becoming increasingly problematic.

    They chose which side of the isle they wanted to sit in at Church and now they’re upset that they’re not invited to the cookout (literally).

    • Ameerah M says:

      YUP. I have never been a huge Lenny fan personally and I have never liked Zoe. She has always purposely divorced herself from the Black community – Lenny did the same but now wants to play the victim.

  15. J.Ferber says:

    Lenny is the only man who gives fuckboy vibes whom I actually like and respect. I can’t stand the others, but somehow, Lenny can pull it off.

  16. Rose says:

    Love him. That is all.

  17. bisynaptic says:

    If you do decide to go for it, make sure to practice safe sex, because he’s likely to harbor a few transmissible organisms.