Although the 2021 Grammy Awards was a historic night for women in music, fans are taking issue with the Recording Academy for omitting Naya Rivera from its in memoriam segment during Sunday night’s broadcast. The Glee alum died in late July from an accidental drowning in a boating accident. She was 33. Fans were quick to notice Naya’s absence from the Grammys tribute segment, which honored artists including, Pop Smoke, Little Richard, Kenny Rogers, John Prine, Gerry Marsden ― all of whom died in 2020 and 2021 ― and many others.
“Since the recording academy failed to include GRAMMY-nominated Naya Rivera in the tribute, please take some time to think about her today,” one fan tweeted, noting the singer’s history with the Grammys. As a member of the Glee cast, she received two Grammy nominations — one in 2011 and in 2012 — for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for “Don’t Stop Believin'”, and Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for Glee: The Music, Volume 4, respectively.
Kinda messed up that Naya Rivera wasn’t included in the In Memoriam segment but ok #GRAMMYs
— Zach (@Zach__Frank) March 15, 2021
The latter left fans confused as to why the Recording Academy would omit the Naya from its memoriam tribute. “Can’t believe the #GRAMMYs didn’t honor you. Miss you so much Naya Rivera,” another fan wrote alongside a gorgeous photo of the late singer. More fans continued to advocate for actress, some of which noted that this isn’t he first time the Recording Academy has forgotten artists in its annual segment.
“Naya Rivera was a singer, not just an actress. She was a two time Grammy nominee. Had a career that spanned more than two decades,” one fan argued on Twitter. “She died saving her son’s life. The fact that the @RecordingAcad didn’t see fit to include her in the In Memoriam section is disgraceful. #GRAMMYs”.
@RecordingAcad You should have included Naya Rivera in that tribute. Such a dissapointment. 💔😔
— mapi 🌼 (@mapiregalado) March 15, 2021
The 2021 Grammys in memoriam tribute was beautifully performed by Brandie Carlile, Lionel Richie, Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Brittany Howard and more. The Recording Academy has not publicly addressed the backlash. Though, the official Grammys website does list Naya Rivera in its in memoriam list.
Naya was confirmed dead on July 13, 2020, following a five-day search for her body in California’s Lake Piru. Just days prior, on July 8, the singer rented a boat with her 5-year-old son, Josey Dorsey, who she shares with ex Ryan Dorsey. On November 17, 2020, Ryan filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the couple’s son claiming — in legal documents obtained by HollywoodLife — that Ventura County is responsible for Naya’s death because the boat she and Josey took out on Lake Piru did not comply with safety standards. Ryan also alleged that the boat was “not equipped with a safely accessible ladder, adequate rope, an anchor, a radio or any security mechanisms to prevent swimmers from being separated from their boats, nor any flotation or lifesaving devices.” This was reportedly in violation of California law.