Blues Foundation Strips Kenny Wayne Shepherd of Blues Music Award Nomination Over Confederate Flag Imagery

Kenny Wayne Shepherd
(Image credit: C Brandon/Redferns)

Kenny Wayne Shepherd has been stripped of his 2021 Blues Music Award nomination after sponsor the Blues Foundation took objection to his use of confederate flag imagery.

The Blues Foundation – which has also asked Shepherd's father Ken Shepherd to step down from its board of directors – explains in a statement: “The decision to rescind the nomination was based upon continuing revelations of representations of the Confederate flag on Shepherd’s 'General Lee' car, guitars and elsewhere.”

In its statement, the organization also includes a section from its Statement Against Racism, which was posted March 15.

“The Blues Foundation unequivocally condemns all forms and expressions of racism, including all symbols associated with white supremacy and the degradation of people of color,” it reads.

“We will hold ourselves as well as all blues musicians, fans, organizations, and members of the music industry accountable for racist actions and encourage concrete commitments to acknowledge and redress the resulting pain.”

Responding to the rescission on Facebook, Shepherd writes: “The car was built 17 years ago as a replica and homage to the iconic car in the television series, The Dukes of Hazzard.”

“Years ago I put that car in permanent storage and some time ago, I made the decision to permanently cover the flag on my car because it was completely against my values and offensive to the African-American community which created the music I love so much and I apologize to anyone that I have unintentionally hurt because of it.”

He concludes: “I want to make something very clear and unequivocal; I condemn and stand in complete opposition to all forms of racism and oppression and always have.”

With Shepherd out of the running, the remaining nominees in the Best Blues/Rock Artist category are Tinsley Ellis, Reverend Peyton, Ana Popovic and Mike Zito.

The Blues Music Awards 2021 will be livestreamed June 6 on the Blues Foundation's Facebook and YouTube pages.

Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.