On Friday August 1st, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio announced they will be removing an urn containing the ashes of Alan Freed, the DJ credited with coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll”. According to Executive Director Greg Harris, Freed’s son Lance will be picking up the urn.
The move is already sparking outcry from the family, as they accused the museum of being “disrespectful” to the legacy of the rock ‘n’ roll. Furthermore, Lance Freed called the removal an “eviction” and not a voluntary removal.
However the museum stated Freed’s legacy is continuing to be“very prominent”, and denies the move to be “a rushed or unilateral decision”. Harris says the hall is simply just moving away from exhibiting remains, as they feel ashes do not tell a story. It is a theory that happens to be agreed upon museum community colleagues across the country. Even so, the museum is also taking heat not only from the family, but also a few fans, as the removal of the Freed’s ashes coincided with the inclusion of an exhibition of leotards worn by Beyoncé Knowles (which came at around the same time), as it was seen as some as snub of a pioneer’s legacy with someone who won’t be eligible for inclusion for over another fifteen or so years.
In addition with help breaking down racial barriers by playing R&B records, and calling it “rock ‘n’ roll”, Alan Freed is also credited with putting Cleveland on the music map, and according to Lance Freed, was one of the reasons why the city was the chosen location for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After initially interred in New York following his death in 1965, the family moved his remains to Cleveland back in 2002. The family is now spending time deciding to take the urn.