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Natalie Cole—who passed away on News Year's Eve—was recognized in a 45-second clip that concluded the "In Memoriam" segment at the 2016 Grammys earlier this week; however, her family believes that just wasn't enough, hoping she would see a tribute similar to David Bowie or B.B. King.
Her sisters, Timolin and Casey Cole, told Page Six, "It's very bittersweet. We were hoping that there will be some sort of actual tribute to her fitting of her artistry and stature. She had 21 Grammy nominations and nine wins. She was such a force in the music industry and she transcended genres...She should be recognized for the impact she has had."
Now, Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild—both friends of Natalie's who even attended her service earlier this year—are speaking out in defense of the tribute.
"Frankly, I think it was appropriate," Ehrlich told Billboard, adding that he thought the clip was "touching and emotional."
He continued, "I told Timolin what we were doing, and she seemed to be very happy with it. And what I told her is that we had talked about having an artist do something for Natalie...But when I looked again at the Grammy show we did where she won for 'Unforgettable,' and I saw the last 45 seconds of that number, where her father (Nat King Cole, on the big screen) throws her a kiss, she throws him a kiss, and then she turns to the audience and throws everybody a kiss—that just 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."
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Wild, who has co-written the Grammys since 2001, agrees with Ehrlich, also noting that a lot of thought went into her tribute.
"Natalie Cole was one where I talked to Ken 10 seconds after we both found out that she passed, and he loved her," Wild told Billboard. "That clip really impacted him, and he thought, he's not gonna do better at Natalie than Natalie. When he found that clip and showed it to me, he was sort of in tears, because it meant so much to him."