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Grammy Awards Face Criticism for Lack of Tribute to Harry Belafonte and Other Legends

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In 2023, the music world bid farewell to several iconic figures, among them the legendary Harry Belafonte, who passed away at the age of 96. Belafonte, renowned for hits like “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” not only left an indelible mark on the music industry but also made significant contributions to activist movements worldwide. Despite his profound influence, Belafonte’s tribute at the recent Grammy Awards fell short of expectations, leaving many disappointed.

While Belafonte was briefly mentioned during the “In Memoriam” segment of the ceremony, his daughter, Gina Belafonte, took to Facebook to express her disappointment at the lack of a special tribute. “Love @itstonybennett Love @tinaturner Love @sinadeocconor. Why the @recordingacademy [chose] not to do a special tribute to you I will #never understand!” Gina wrote, paying homage to her late father and highlighting his impact on countless artists.

Gina Belafonte’s heartfelt tribute to her father underscored Harry Belafonte’s monumental achievements, including his groundbreaking album “Calypso” in 1956, which became the first million-selling LP by a single artist. Another of Belafonte’s daughters, Shari Belafonte, echoed Gina’s sentiments, expressing disappointment in the Grammys’ oversight.

“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,” Shari Belafonte remarked, emphasizing her father’s unparalleled legacy.

However, Harry Belafonte wasn’t the only artist overlooked by the Grammy Awards. SZA, a standout nominee, faced backlash from her fanbase after not winning Album of the Year. Despite the disappointment, SZA gracefully accepted the outcome, expressing optimism for the future.

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As the music industry continues to evolve, the Grammy Awards’ failure to honor icons like Harry Belafonte highlights the importance of recognizing and celebrating the contributions of trailblazing artists who have shaped musical history.

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