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Harvey Mason Jr honours victims of Israel Supernova Festival attack at Grammys 2024: “Music must always be our safe space”

Harvey Mason Jr has honoured the victims of last year’s Israel Supernova Festival attack during his speech at the 2024 Grammy Awards.

The moment took place at last night’s ceremony (February 4), and saw the Record Academy CEO take a moment towards the end of the night to pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the attack at Israel’s Supernova Music Festival last year.

Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Southern Israel on October 7, which they claimed was retribution for worsening conditions for Palestinians. Billboard reported that roughly 260 attendees were murdered in the terror attack, and approximately 150 attendees were taken hostage by Hamas. Around 136 Israeli hostages are still believed to be held, according to a recent report by CBS.

“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.

He also went on to liken the attack to that of the coordinated terrorist attacks at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in 2015, the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 and the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas in 2017.

“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 October 7, we felt that again when we heard the tragic news from the Supernova Music Festival for Love.”

“Let us all agree that music must remain the common ground upon which we all stand together in peace and harmony,” he added. “Because music has always been one of humanity’s great connectors. Think about it: Every song that we’re honouring 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.”

He also went on to refer to the string quartet as an example. “As individuals, they sound really good, but together, they achieve something beautiful they could never do apart.

“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.”

Following its broadcast, the speech by Mason Jr has received an unsurprisingly mixed response online, with some praising him for honouring the victims, while others criticised him for sharing “Israel propaganda”.

“Reducing the genocide of Palestinians to a metaphor about how ‘people from different backgrounds can play together in harmony’ when 20,000+ Palestinians have been killed is so vile. fuck that bald mf. fuck the academy. free Palestine always,” one wrote on X/Twitter (via Newsweek).

Another agreed, adding “Genuinely fuck the Grammys for this weird ass Israel propaganda. FREE PALESTINE”, while a third wrote “What the hell is this from the #GRAMMYs. Not a word for 30,000 exterminated Palestinians, but you have words for Israelis killed? Where are your words for all of the Palestinian musicians killed, jailed and tortured by the Israeli state?”.

Elsewhere, one agreed with the CEO’s sentiment saying: “Amazing speech by Harvey Mason Jr., the CEO of the Recording Academy, at the Grammy’s, honouring the Nova festival victims. Thank you Harvey”.

“Thank you Harvey Mason Jr on behalf of the #nova victims families and the Israeli people,” another shared, while someone else wrote: “Thank you Harvey Mason Jr., and the #Grammys for remembering the innocent victims of the Supernova music festival on October 7.”

Elsewhere at last night’s Grammys, Annie Lennox performed a cover of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ in tribute to Sinead O’Connor during the ceremony’s In Memoriam section. During her performance, she raised one arm in the air and said: “Artists for a ceasefire. Peace in the world.”

Following the attack at Supernova Festival, around 1300 Israeli citizens reportedly died, while ABC News reports that over 27,000 have been killed in Gaza.

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