Harry Belafonte’s daughters, Shari and Gina, are calling out the Grammys for not doing more to recognize the late singer during the 2024 awards ceremony Sunday.
During the In Memoriam segment, Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Fantasia Barrino and Jon Batiste took to the stage to perform emotional tributes for Tina Turner, Tony Bennett, Sinead O’Connor, Clarence Avant and more.
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While they performed, images of other artists the music industry lost last year were displayed onscreen behind them, including Belafonte, while Batiste sang “The Best Is Yet to Come.”
But Shari and Gina feel the Grammys should have given the singer a special tribute, similar to the ones for Turner, Bennett, O’Connor and Avant.
“While the folks who had a bit more of a #shoutout on the #GrammyAwards this year were absolutely deserving of accolades, I’m a bit appalled that our father was not included in a #SpecialTribute and I’m not just saying that because he was our father,” Shari wrote on Facebook. “#HarryBelafonte was the very FIRST recipient of a platinum record. Was the very FIRST Black man to get an #Emmy. Is one of 20 people to have an #EGOT. Harry is THE one who created #WeAreTheWorld, and yes, I was at the table when he first pitched the idea to Ken Kragen.”
She added, “While no doubt, Tony Bennett and Tina Turner were special indeed, Harry contributed far more to society and the music industry than those two put together, in my humble opinion. The Grammys missed a major moment.”
Gina also criticized the Grammys in her own Facebook post with a photo of her father, writing, “Love @itstonybennett Love @tinaturner Love @sinadeocconor. Why the @recordingacademy Cho see not to do a special tribute to you I will #never understand! So here is my Grammy tribute to you dad! So many winners you’ve mentored! So many winners you shared your stage with. You are the winner @theharrybelafonte and we are better because of your contribution! Belafonte’s career breakthrough album Calypso (1956) was the first million-selling LP by a single artist.”
Belafonte, the actor, producer, singer and activist who made calypso music a national phenomenon with “Day-O” (The Banana Boat Song), died in April 2023 of congestive heart failure, longtime spokesman Ken Sunshine told The Hollywood Reporter at the time.
THR has reached out to the Grammys for comment.
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