Billboard’s 2020 Women In Music Hall of Fame Honorees Speak Out

This was the year Roc Nation client Megan Thee Stallion claimed superstardom, at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Savage” (featuring Beyoncé) and as the featured artist on Cardi B’s “WAP,” which topped the Hot 100 for four weeks. Rostermates Lil Uzi Vert, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey all reached new peaks. And Roc Nation, after partnering with the NFL to use its platform for entertainment and social justice, in February co-produced the Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Reprise: A Roc Nation Album raised funds for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Foundation for Criminal Justice, and JAY-Z successfully lobbied for passage of probation reform legislation in California. Through it all, says Perez, she has managed the stress of the year by “focusing on things within my control and making sure we are better positioned for whatever the new normal is.”

Song That Inspired Me in the Past Year: “Alicia Keys’ ‘Love Looks Better on You,’ because it recognizes that love is the best option.”

Danielle Aguirre (Co-executive of the Year 2018)
Executive vp/general counsel, National Music Publishers’ Association

Courtesy of NMPA

Danielle Aguirre

The NMPA this year continued to focus on reaching settlements and deals for licenses to “provide needed revenue for our members and songwriters,” says Aguirre, noting that the organization has finalized global settlements and/or licenses with Peloton, TikTok, YouTube, Snap Inc. and others. Aguirre also continues to oversee the NMPA’s battle against Spotify, Amazon, Google and Pandora in the wake of the tech companies’ appeal of a 2018 Copyright Royalty Board decision to raise publishing royalties. In November, the NMPA joined the Nashville Songwriters Association International in a motion asking the CRB to set interim royalty rates at the current levels.

Crucial Issue Facing the Music Industry: “How to protect live-music venues and slowly bring people back to live events. Live music is what I miss most about these last months.”

Jacqueline C. Charlesworth (Co-executive of the Year 2018)
Partner, Alter Kendrick & Baron

Chris Reed

Jacqueline Charlesworth

“It will be exciting to see the launch on Jan. 1 of the new Mechanical Licensing Collective created under the Music Modernization Act,” says Charlesworth, whose efforts — along with Aguirre, Dina LaPolt and Susan Genco — to achieve passage of the landmark music licensing law led to their shared recognition as Executive of the Year honorees in 2018. Charlesworth remains on the front lines of copyright battles, filing a brief late last year with the D.C. Court of Appeals on behalf of two groups to support increased royalty rates for songwriters. In July, she testified before a Senate subcommittee on what she called the “broken” Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which governs copyright online. “A little over a year ago,” she says, “I left a big firm and moved to Los Angeles. I’m extremely grateful to have built a thriving music and copyright practice out here, even in the midst of a pandemic. And I’m especially proud of my work on

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Billboard’s 2020 Women In Music Hall of Fame Honorees Speak Out

Chosen by Billboard as first among their peers in prior years, these former Executive of the Year honorees reflect on the achievements, activism and unprecedented challenges of 2020.

Desiree Perez (Executive of the Year 2019)

CEO, Roc Nation

This was the year Roc Nation client Megan Thee Stallion claimed superstardom, at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Savage” (featuring Beyoncé) and as the featured artist on Cardi B’s “WAP,” which topped the Hot 100 for four weeks. Rostermates Lil Uzi Vert, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey all reached new peaks. And Roc Nation, after partnering with the NFL to use its platform for entertainment and social justice, in February co-produced the Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Reprise: A Roc Nation Album raised funds for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Foundation for Criminal Justice, and JAY-Z successfully lobbied for passage of probation reform legislation in California. Through it all, says Perez, she has managed the stress of the year by “focusing on things within my control and making sure we are better positioned for whatever the new normal is.”

Song That Inspired Me in the Past Year: “Alicia Keys’ ‘Love Looks Better on You,’ because it recognizes that love is the best option.”

Danielle Aguirre (Co-executive of the Year 2018)

Executive vp/general counsel, National Music Publishers’ Association

The NMPA this year continued to focus on reaching settlements and deals for licenses to “provide needed revenue for our members and songwriters,” says Aguirre, noting that the organization has finalized global settlements and/or licenses with Peloton, TikTok, YouTube, Snap Inc. and others. Aguirre also continues to oversee the NMPA’s battle against Spotify, Amazon, Google and Pandora in the wake of the tech companies’ appeal of a 2018 Copyright Royalty Board decision to raise publishing royalties. In November, the NMPA joined the Nashville Songwriters Association International in a motion asking the CRB to set interim royalty rates at the current levels.

Crucial Issue Facing the Music Industry: “How to protect live-music venues and slowly bring people back to live events. Live music is what I miss most about these last months.”

Jacqueline C. Charlesworth (Co-executive of the Year 2018)

Partner, Alter Kendrick & Baron

“It will be exciting to see the launch on Jan. 1 of the new Mechanical Licensing Collective created under the Music Modernization Act,” says Charlesworth, whose efforts — along with Aguirre, Dina LaPolt and Susan Genco — to achieve passage of the landmark music licensing law led to their shared recognition as Executive of the Year honorees in 2018. Charlesworth remains on the front lines of copyright battles, filing a brief late last year with the D.C. Court of Appeals on behalf of two groups to support increased royalty rates for songwriters. In July, she testified before a Senate subcommittee on what she called the “broken” Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which governs copyright online. “A little over a year ago,” she says, “I left a big firm and moved to

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Celebrating the Women of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

It’s been a big year for Whitney Houston fans.


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In March, the late legend’s 1992 cover of “I Will Always Love You” was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, established to preserve sound recordings that are deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States.”

In October, she made history as the first Black artist to have three Recording Industry Association of America-certified Diamond albums, with 1987’s Whitney joining her 1985 self-titled debut and the 1992 soundtrack to The Bodyguard at having sold 10 million units.

And to top it off, she’s been formally inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with the 2020 induction ceremony due to air on HBO on Saturday, Nov. 7. Though she first became eligible to join the prestigious club of music greats in 2010—25 years after the release of her first record, as per the rules—the nomination for the Class of 2020 was her first. Out of 16 acts nominated, she’s one of only six who’ve been voted in this year—and the lone woman in the bunch.

The Best Music of 2020—So Far

In fact, her induction into the Performers category puts her in league with an elite group of female artists who’ve carved out space for themselves in an overwhelmingly male-dominated field. If only she were here to see it.

As we wait to see how presenter Alicia Keys pays tribute to Houston during this year’s ceremony, take a look at all the fierce females who came before her in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.



Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks wearing costumes: Zumapress; Getty Images; Melissa Herwitt/E! Illustration


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Zumapress; Getty Images; Melissa Herwitt/E! Illustration



Aretha Franklin talking on a cell phone: The Queen of Soul became the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. The Rolling Stones ' Keith Richards did the honors.


© Ross Marino/Getty Images
The Queen of Soul became the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. The Rolling Stones ‘ Keith Richards did the honors.



The iconic Motown girl group comprising Diana Ross , Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson (pictured here) was inducted by Little Richard in 1988.


© Ross Marino/Getty Images
The iconic Motown girl group comprising Diana Ross , Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson (pictured here) was inducted by Little Richard in 1988.



a person standing in front of a curtain: Known for '50s-era pop hits "Tweedle Dee" and "Jim Dandy," the blues and R&B singer was inducted by Chaka Khan in 1991.


© Robin Platzer/Twin Images/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images
Known for ’50s-era pop hits “Tweedle Dee” and “Jim Dandy,” the blues and R&B singer was inducted by Chaka Khan in 1991.



Tina Turner standing posing for the camera: In 1991, she was inducted alongside her abusive ex-husband Ike Turner , the duo recognized for their work in the '60s and '70s on hits like "Proud Mary" and "River Deep—Mountain High." Fans have been vocal about their desire to see Turner inducted once more in recognition of her solo work.


© Dave Benett/Getty Images
In 1991, she was inducted alongside her abusive ex-husband Ike Turner , the duo recognized for their work in the ’60s and ’70s on hits like “Proud Mary” and “River Deep—Mountain High.” Fans have been vocal about their desire to see Turner inducted once more in recognition of her solo work.



Ruth Brown sitting on a stage: Known for bringing a pop music style to R&B during her heyday on the Atlantic Records roster in the 1950s, Brown was inducted in 1993 by Bonnie Raitt .


© Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Known for bringing a pop music style to R&B during

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Trump ‘believes his fame gives him the right to grab’ women

Singer Lady Gaga slammed President Trump at a Monday rally for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, saying the president “believes his fame gives him the right to grab” women.



a person holding a sign: Lady Gaga at Biden rally: Trump 'believes his fame gives him the right to grab' women


© Getty Images
Lady Gaga at Biden rally: Trump ‘believes his fame gives him the right to grab’ women

The singer, who campaigned with Biden in Pittsburgh on the eve of Election Day, gave a short address to the crowd at the drive-in rally, saying that “now is your chance to vote” against Trump.

“To all the women and all the men with daughters and sisters and mothers, everybody, no matter how you identify, now is your chance to vote against Donald Trump, a man who believes his fame gives him the right to grab one of your daughters or sisters or mothers or wives by any part of their bodies,” she said. “Vote for Joe. He’s a good person.”

The singer and actress encouraged all eligible voters to show up at their polling places tomorrow if they haven’t voted already.

“We need all of you to vote,” she said. “I know you’ve seen the polls, the record number of early and mail-in votes. It’s tempting to feel comfortable and confident and sit back, but now is not the time to feel comfortable and sit back.”

“Now is the time to show up and vote like this country depends on it – because it does,” she said.

Lady Gaga performed later during the rally, singing “Shallow,” telling Pennsylvanians that “you got a lot of heart” and that “this is not a shallow people.”

Her song followed a performance by John Legend and Common and speeches from Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

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UConn to play in Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge, part of Mohegan Sun ‘Bubbleville’ that will host basketball events at start of NCAA season

The Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge that the UConn women will participate in at the end of November is officially on and will be part of “Bubbleville,” a bubble-like environment at Uncasville’s Mohegan Sun that will host multiple basketball events to kick off the college basketball season.

All four of the schools originally slated to play — UConn, Mississippi State, Quinnipiac and Maine — were able to keep the tournament on their schedules, with the Huskies set to play Quinnipiac first on Nov. 28 before facing the winner of Mississippi-Maine the following day. Game times, television details and ticket information — suggesting some fans will be allowed in the arena — have yet to be announced.

The bubble-esque set-up, which the Courant had been previously reported as in-the-works, was officially announced Friday by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Legends Classic, which will host the UConn men, Vanderbilt, Southern California and BYU at Mohegan Sun on Dec. 2 and 3, will also be part of “Bubbleville,” which will operate from Nov. 25 through Dec. 4.

The Hall of Fame and Gazelle Group, third-party tournament organizers, have been working with Mohegan Sun officials for months to create a controlled environment where teams can kick off non-conference play while “adhering to tribal, government, and NCAA health and safety protocols and testing requirements,” Friday’s announcement said.

“The Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge has been held at Mohegan Sun Arena for many years in front of the tremendous UConn fanbase. While COVID-19 has forced us to reassess many events and safety protocols, we are proud to still be hosting these four outstanding teams in a world-class venue,” John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “We thank Mohegan Sun for their partnership and their diligence to produce this tournament in a bubble-like atmosphere.”

Friday’s announcement featured relatively scant details. But Dave Martinelli, chief marketing officer at Mohegan Sun, previously told the Courant that organizers could stage four courts (aside from Mohegan Sun Arena itself) in the site’s Expo Center. Each team could also have a hotel floor to itself, early plans detailed, and would be able to travel from hotel rooms to meeting spaces to courts without entering public spaces.

The UConn women have yet to release an official schedule, though Geno Auriemma has told media that non-conference matchups with Tennessee, Baylor and South Carolina are still on.

Alexa Philippou can be reached at [email protected]

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