After a series of moving tributes throughout the 2024 Grammy Awards on Sunday night (Feb. 4), the Recording Academy’s CEO Harvey Mason Jr. took one more moment toward the end of the evening to pay tribute to the lives lost during Hamas’ attack at Israel’s Supernova Music Festival on Oct. 7.
“Music must always be our safe space — when that is violated, it strikes at the very core of who we are,” he said during his speech. “We felt that at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. We felt that at the Manchester Arena in England. We felt that at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. And on Oct. 7, we felt that again when we heard the tragic news from the Supernova Music Festival for Love, that over 360 music fans lost their lives, and another 40 were kidnapped.”
During his speech, Mason pointed to the unification of music as an art form, and called for an end to the violence at music festivals. “Let us all agree that music must remain the common ground upon which we all stand together in peace and harmony,” he said. “Because music has always been one of humanity’s great connectors. Think about it: Every song that we’re honoring or hearing tonight moved someone, no matter where they were from or what they believed. It connected them to others who were moved in the same way.”
Mason then referred to the string quartet playing under him as an example. “As individuals, they sound really good, but together, they achieve something beautiful they could never do apart,” he said. “These musicians of Palestinian, Israeli and Arab descent are here playing together. Now is the time for us, for humanity, to play together and to come together with empathy and with love.”
The Recording Academy’s leader was not the only one to make reference the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine during the ceremony on Sunday. At the end of her emotional performance of Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” new wave star Annie Lennox proclaimed, “Artists for ceasefire! Peace in the world!”