Lionel Richie talks Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction: “I’m basically grateful”

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Lionel Richie sings “Easy” with Dave Grohl on guitar; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

When Lionel Richie was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame earlier this month, he discussed his role as a “creative artist” in the industry, as well as the roadblocks he faced when being told he wasn’t “Black enough.” 

Backstage at the ceremony, he delved more into the honor and what it means to him.

“I started out as a fan, having no blessed idea of this night. And so when you think on where we are, where I am, this is like a couple of universes away from my original beginnings,” Lionel says.

He adds that he’s thankful for the recognition, as he’s aware of many artists who’ve worked hard but still aren’t in the Hall of Fame class.

“What I think about is how many artists put their time in and didn’t get to the destination,” he continues. “And so I’m very blessed that I could be here. So I’m kind of — instead of being pumped, I’m basically grateful.”

As with many who’ve made acceptance speeches in front of a crowd, Lionel admits he meant to say one more thing while accepting his Hall of Fame honor. Taking advantage of the opportunity backstage, he says, “In my speech, I forgot to say these words: Every artist needs a champion.”

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The induction ceremony will air Saturday, November 19, at 8 p.m. ET on HBO and will stream on HBO Max. Eminem and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were among those inducted; Harry Belafonte received the Early Influence Award.

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