Shari and Gina Belafonte, the late Jamaican-American singer’s daughters, criticize the Grammy Awards for not doing more to honor their father during the 2024 event.
In the In Memoriam section, Tina Turner, Tony Bennett, Sinead O’Connor, Clarence Avant, and other notable figures were honored with moving performances by Jon Batiste, Fantasia Barrino, Stevie Wonder, and Annie Lennox.
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Batiste sang “The Best Is Yet to Come” while pictures of other musicians who passed away last year appeared on screen behind them including singer, actor, civil rights activist, and author Harry Belafonte.
Both daughters agreed that the “Jump in the Line” singer should have received a special Grammy homage, similar to Tina Turner, Bennett, O’Connor, and Avant.
Shari took to Facebook through a post, “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.”
“#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 continued, “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.”
Along with criticizing the Grammy Awards, Gina posted a picture of her father on Facebook and said, “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.”
According to veteran spokesperson Ken Sunshine, Belafonte passed away in April 2023 from congestive heart disease. Belafonte popularized calypso music with his song “Day-O,” also known as “The Banana Boat Song.” Belafonte music is loved and appreciated by many and is captured in hit movies and animations including, “Beetle Juice”.