The untimely death of one diva nearly overshadowed the celebration of another at this year’s Grammy Awards.
Diana Ross, arguably the siren for whom the term “diva” was coined, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 54th annual awards ceremony this weekend, but in light of the tragic death of Whitney Houston, Diana didn’t feel like celebrating.
“It’s supposed to be the day of my celebration, but it’s hard to celebrate when there’s a loss like this, but I felt like if Clive [Davis] didn’t cancel it, then it was important that I be here,” she told CBS outside the Beverly Hilton on Saturday night.
However, the “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” singer admitted that she wasn’t quite sure she should even attend the pre-Grammy event.
“I wasn’t sure if I should be here or not,” she said, but she didn’t want to disappoint those who still wanted to pay tribute to her.
“A lot of the young singers have planned a special honoring evening for me, and they’ve been rehearsing really, really hard; I heard, and I didn’t want to let anybody down,” she said, admitting that Whitney’s death would prevent her from truly savoring the moment.
“I don’t think I’ll really be able to enjoy it,” she said.
Diana, who served as a presenter during the Grammy telecast Sunday night, received her trophy that afternoon at the Wilshire Theatre, where she assured fans that her career is not over.
“I look forward to the future—and going into the studio to make new music,” she said.
Diana’s five children and one grandchild joined her at the event.
“My mom is spectacular,” Tracee tweeted.
However, during what was supposed to be a time of celebration, Diana, who knew Whitney and Cissy Houston personally, couldn’t help but reflect on how many colleagues she’s lost recently.
“We’ve lost a lot of really close people this year. We have to think maybe they’re in a better place,” she said.
Watch Diana’s interview below.
—Tracy L. Scott