Lenny Kravitz Covers ESQUIRE Winter Issue

Posted on November 29, 2023


As he prepares to drop his first album in five years, with a massive tour to follow, rock and style icon Lenny Kravitz talks candidly about family, faith, sex, love, and legacy. “Lenny Kravitz Wants To Clear a Few Things Up” by ESQUIRE Digital Director Madison Vain is on Esquire.com now and in the new Winter issue, available everywhere by December 5.




On struggling to be taken seriously by the rock-critic establishment: “There was this one article that, at that time, said, ‘If Lenny Kravitz were white, he would be the next savior of rock ’n’ roll.’ I got a lot of negativity thrown at me by all these older white men who weren’t going to let me have that position…It was discouraging at times. I’m good. Intact—happy, healthy, focused, with still so much to do.”

On his treatment by Black entertainment and culture outlets: “To this day, I have not been invited to a BET thing or a Source Awards thing. And it’s like, here is a Black artist who has reintroduced many Black art forms, who has broken down barriers—just like those that came before me broke down. That is positive. And they don’t have anything to say about it?… I’m not here for the accolades. I’m here for the experience.”

On the people he used to surround himself with early in his career: “I got burned. Completely. I put it all out there, and I put it all out there in a way for people to take advantage of it. I was an empty vessel…Saying no is very difficult for me. I was like that from childhood. My mom used to call me the Pied Piper. I’d bring everybody home. Just met them a few hours ago? I bring them home. I love people. I always have loved people.”

On the recent racist and misogynistic comments from Rolling Stone founder and former editor-in-chief Jann Wenner: “It’s very disappointing and sad. I’ve known Jann since 1987. I’ve been to his house. In his life. I was disappointed. I was very disappointed. The statement alone, even if you just heard about the man yesterday, was appalling and embarrassing. And just wrong.”

On how an unwanted sexual experience with an adult woman when he was a teenager affected his approach to intimacy: “It was an experience and a lesson. Everything doesn’t have to be so…I’m not saying that there aren’t things that deserve to be addressed—maybe somebody would say it should have been addressed and that it was, whatever, but that’s the time it was. I lived, and I learned. I wasn’t traumatized.”

On how the LGBTQ+ community has been a big influence on his life: “Not only in fashion and style, because that’s just something on top. They raised me. I was in the street—my choice—and it was the eighties in West Hollywood. It was that time; artists, musicians, hairstylists, and designers, those were the people I was hanging out with. I wanted to be around the creatives, and most of the people I met were from that community. [They] protected me. Educated me. Fed me.”


[Photo Credit: Norman Jean Roy for Esquire Magazine]

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