Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

How to Remember Them

InMemoriamIt’s award season. There’s one thing that every show includes (besides the pre-show red carpet extravaganza).

The “In Memoriam” segment.

Some people take that as their cue to get up and go the bathroom or get more snacks. Others are glued to the TV, wincing as each familiar face appears on the screen.

If you feel like this segment is getting longer, you’re not alone. So many celebrities – legends in the arts communities – died in the past year. Everyone from Louis Jourdan to Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey to Leslie Gore, in what feels like a never-ending list.

That pause in each awards ceremony to honor those who have died is largely uncontroversial. But after the Grammy’s last night, the Twitterverse lit up: disappointment with Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie, outrage that Natalie Cole didn’t merit her own tribute like B.B. King.

Personally, I liked the Bowie tribute, as bizarre as Ziggy Stardust. I loved the B.B. King and Glenn Frey tributes. And the truth is, Natalie Cole was singled out.

The last person noted in the “In Memoriam” segment, it ended with video of her touching ‘duet’ with her late father, Nat King Cole, “Unforgettable”. It brought a tear to my eye, which the other tributes did not.

I’m sure if you ask 100 people their opinion about these remembrances, you’d get 100 different answers. That’s okay. The only way to begin to make everyone happy would be to devote the entire three hours to tributes.

The friends of those who died – friends they worked with – have already faced their grief privately and publicly. And while it’s great to acknowledge the importance of great artists in this very public way, it’s not necessary.

Their friends and fans won’t forget them; can’t forget them. These performers’ accomplishments live on in print, in music, on film and most important, in our hearts.

So, you didn’t like the tribute you saw on TV? Take a moment to create your own. Listen to their music. Watch their films. Read their books.

Because as long as you do, they will – like Natalie and her father sang – be ‘unforgettable’.