Grammys Explain Don Cornelius & Etta James' Absences From 'In Memorium'

Don Cornelius presents the BET Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the 2009 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, on June 28, 2009 Don Cornelius presents the BET Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the 2009 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, on June 28, 2009

The Grammys have responded to fans who were concerned that “Soul Train” host Don Cornelius and music icon Etta James were missing from the “in memoriam” segment at the awards show on Sunday night.

“Re: Etta James tribute was by Bonnie Raitt & @AliciaKeys at the top of the telecast & @Questlove gave special attn to Don Cornelius,” read a message posted on the Grammys’ official Twitter account on Sunday night.

In fact, Bonnie and Alicia did perform a moving tribute to Etta at the top of the show, but the absence of the “Soul Train” host who died as the result of suicide earlier this month, left many fans upset on Twitter as the “in memoriam” section aired.

“Can’t believe Etta James and Don Cornelius weren’t in the Memorium,” music writer Toure Tweeted on Sunday evening, a sentiment expressed by hundreds of fans watching the feed.

“I’m glad Etta got a tribute from Alicia but she still should’ve gotten a picture in the Memorium. It’s just a picture,” he added.

While Steve Jobs was in the “in memoriam” section with a caption that referred to him as a “digital music pioneer,” and Alex Steinwess, the inventor of the album cover, also got a nod, it was LL Cool, in an introduction to a Foo Fighters/Deadmau5 performance that provided the Don Cornelius tribute.

“Take it from me here and my man Questlove, if you were standing next to THE Don Cornelius, you were definitely on the hippest trip in America. Don Cornelius was the conductor of ‘Soul Train’ and thanks to him a lot of [people] learned about the meaning of soul and also how to dance. Don, peace, love and soul,” LL said.

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