The annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is always an amazing spectacle of music, pride, and occasionally controversy, and this year, after a decades-long wait, British heavy medal band Judas Priest -- complete with out and proud gay lead singer Rob Halford -- was inducted into the Hall of Fame, as was Eminem, the rapper known for antigay lyrics that, despite his avowed support for the LGBTQ+ community and public friendship with Elton John, dehumanize queer people.
Alice Cooper introduced Halford and the band at the Saturday ceremony in Los Angeles. "They're electrifying onstage and one of the hardest-hitting live bands in the history of rock and roll," Cooper said. "[Judas] Priest has carried the flag of hard rock and heavy metal proudly for something like 50 years, never wavering or following trends or pretending to be anything but exactly what they are," Cooper added, in reference both to their remaining true to their musical soul as well as Halford's courageous coming-out in the '90s. "They are flying high tonight. Much deserved and long overdue."
Judas Priest is one of only a handful of heavy metal bands to be recognized by the organization, and after playing a medley of their three best known and most beloved songs -- "You've Got Another Thing Comin,'" "Breaking the Law," and "Living After Midnight" -- band members took the time to speak the audience.
Halford was the last to speak. "I'm the gay guy in the band," he said when he took the mic. "We call ourselves the heavy metal community, which is all-inclusive, no matter what your sexual identity is, what you look like, or what you believe in or don't believe in. Everybody's welcome."
Halford also sang with Dolly Parton in a performance of her famous song "Jolene" elsewhere in the program.
Eminem, meanwhile, was honored the same night as Halford. The Michigan rapper has a long history of hits as well as antigay comments and lyrics -- as recently as 2018 he wrote a song that referred to Tyler the Creator as the f slur.