Joan Jett gets inducted into the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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It’s been a long time coming for the woman behind the song “I Love Rock and Roll,” but Joan Jett was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over the weekend in Cleveland, Ohio, along with her band, The Blackhearts. As someone who has been playing in bands since before the Hall of Fame was founded in 1986, Joan follows in the footsteps of legendary queer women like Bessie Smith (1989), Ma Rainey (1990), Janis Joplin (1995), Dusty Springfield (1999), Debbie Harry with Blondie (2006), Laura Nyro (2012) who have previously been bestowed the honor. 

30th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Show

Miley Cyrus was the one who introduced Joan, as they have been friends since they met to perform together on an episode of Oprah together a few years ago. You can read her full speech and catch a glimpse of it in the video below, but this is how it began:

“I’m going to start off this induction with the first time I wanted to have sex with Joan Jett. We were doing Oprah together, and I go up to Joan’s hotel room. Joan opens the door, and I come in, and Kenny Laguna is laying in bed. I don’t know what the fuck is going on. There’s towels shoved underneath all the door cracks, shower caps around all the smoke detectors. Joan is running around spraying orange-smelling cleaner to mask the smell of ‘the pot’ (that’s what you guys call it), and we go into her bathroom.”

“I was really going to try not to cry and be tough,” Joan said during her speech. “Hey, Mom and Dad, did you ever think that Christmas guitar would lead to this? I come from a place where rock ‘n roll means something. it means more than music, more than fashion, more than the pose. Rock ‘n roll is an idea and an ideal. Sometimes, because we love the music and we make the music, we forget the political impact it has around the world.”

30th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Inside

If you’re not super familiar with Joan, there’s no real way to sum up what she has done for women in rock, or the music industry at large. She was one of the founding members of the first internationally known all-female band, The Runaways, and continued to see success in her solo career with hits like “Bad Reputation” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You.” She started her own record label, Blackheart Records, and signs bands with women in them (including The Dollyrots and Girl in a Coma). Joan produced several albums for pivotal feminist, queer and riot grrrl bands like Bikini Kill, The Germs and The Gits. She’s had books and movies (plural) dedicated to her and the bands she’s been a part of and worked with, and, in her “spare time” she’s an activist for animal rights and has appeared in several films and TV shows. (Most recently she appeared alongside Maria Bello in Lifetime’s Big Driver.)

30th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Show

Joan continues to be an inspiration not just to female musicians, but women everywhere with her trailblazing, her work ethic, and her perfect blend of “I don’t give a fuck what you think” and upbeat attitude. The Queen of Rock ‘n Roll has never defined herself (“I’m not saying no, I’m not saying yes, I’m saying believe what you want. Assume away,” she once told Out) but never refers to herself as gay or bisexual), and touts a lesbian sticker on her guitar while playing live. Her relationship with Runaways bandmate Cherie Curie was cause of high-speculation (especially when the film version included a kiss between Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning playing the two friends, respectively) but Joan has said their relationship was one of intimate friendship more than anything else. 

With fellow inductee (and bisexual frontman) Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day470308268

Despite Joan’s resistance to be a larger force in the LGBT movement, she has had an undeniable affect on queer women of all ages. From her music to her feminism to her tomboy fashion, Joan is a true American idol, and we’re thrilled to see her recognized by the institution of rock ‘n roll. Now it’s time to campaign for The Runaways to get their own place in the Hall of Fame.

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