Seeing as this year’s Grammys was more or less the year of the tribute – with performances dedicated to Glenn Frey, BB King, Lemmy Kilmister, and David Bowie – it was somewhat of a noticeable shift when Natalie Cole was honored with a short video within the larger “In Memoriam” segment rather than a standalone segment of her own. Cole’s career, which spanned four decades in which she won nine Grammys and had 21 nominations, was cut short in December of 2015 when she died of congestive heart failure after many years of health issues. She was only 65.
Cole’s piece of the “In Memorium” clips package consisted of a video snippet from a 1992 Grammys performance in which she virtually shared the stage with her deceased father and performed “Unforgettable” with him. It was a sweet gesture, but the singer’s family is outraged over the minimization of her career to that brief clip. In a statement given to ET on Tuesday, her sisters spoke:
“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 added to the sentiment with great pride about his mother:
“Here is a woman who has been in the business for four decades, had 21 Grammy nominations and won nine Grammys. She deserves more than (to be a part of) a minute-and-a-half tribute. It was shameless the way they minimized her legacy. We will find solace in her legacy as well as her endless fans around the world.”