Natalie Cole's Family Expresses Outrage Over "Disrespectful" Grammys Tribute
Fans of the late singer were also quick to criticize the 58th annual Grammy Awards for not dedicating a performance to the "Unforgettable" singer.
The family of Natalie Cole is accusing the Grammys of minimizing the late singer's legacy.
The singer-songwriter and daughter of Nat King Cole, who died at age 65 on New Year's Day, received an extended moment to close out the In Memoriam segment during the 58th annual Grammy Awards on Monday night, but did not get her own performance — Maurice White, Glenn Frey, B.B. King, Lemmy Kilmister and David Bowie (who was remembered with a medley from Lady Gaga) were all honored with tribute performances.
"Sadly a forgettable tribute to Natalie Cole," Cole's sisters Timolin and Casey told Entertainment Tonight after the Feb. 15 awards show. "Words cannot express the outrage and utter disappointment at the disrespectful tribute, or lack thereof, to a legendary artist such as our sister."
Cole's son Robert Adam Yancy also spoke to ET after the show. "Here is a woman who has been in the business for four decades, had 21 Grammy nominations and won nine Grammys," he said. "She deserves more than [to be a part of] a minute-and-a-half tribute. It was shameless the way they minimized her legacy."
Fans of the "Unforgettable" singer, including Lee Daniels, Holly Robinson Peete and Eric Benet, shared her family's sentiments when they took to social media to express their own disappointment on Grammy night.
On Wednesday, longtime Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich defended the show's treatment, telling Billboard he was taken aback by the Cole family's reaction.
"For the record, there was an email exchange, and I told Timolin what we were doing, and she seemed to be very happy with it," he said, adding that the clip they showed (of her winning the Grammy for "Unforgettable") "was so touching and so emotional to me, that that felt like it had to be the end of the whole In Memoriam' segment. I hadn’t looked at that clip in several years, but when I saw it again, I knew it was right.”
See some of the reactions during Grammy night below.
David Bowie wld hv bn pissed more than anyone that Grammys "don't have time" 4 a Maurice White and Natalie Cole tribute. #shameonyougrammys— Eric Benet (@ebenet) February 14, 2016
Natalie Cole... 9 Grammys and only gets a photo in remembrance montage. David Bowie...1 Grammy and he received a 7 minute tribute. #GRAMMYs— Chris Witherspoon (@WitherspoonC) February 16, 2016
Guess we'll have to wait for the BET Awards to give Maurice White and Natalie Cole some proper tributes #GRAMMYS— Film Fatale NYC (@FilmFatale_NYC) February 16, 2016
Feb. 17, 7 p.m. PT: Updated with Ehrlich's response