I don't know about you, but I don't expect much in terms of recognition when it comes to people I don't know handling the music and legacies of those I hold most dear, especially when it comes to such a profitable enterprise such as the GRAMMY Awards. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting much in terms of honoring Teddy Pendregrass' rich musical legacy when I watched the GRAMMY Awards last night. I expected his likeness and music to play during the "In Remembrance" montage that is done every year, but nothing more than that. What we did not ask for, we surely received in the form of the most woeful, trifling, and disrespectful tribute I've ever seen in regards to my beloved Teddy Pendergrass in the form of Lady Antebellum's rendition of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me By Now."
First of all, let's start with the name. Lady Antebellum. According to the Wikipedia page, their name is derived from the group photographing pre-Civil War or "antebellum" homes. Great. Perfect. That is unless you are the direct descendant the people who were enslaved during this same time period. To me, "Lady Antebellum" is equated in my mind with nothing more than "Lady Slavemaster." I'm not the biggest fan of contemporary country music, but you must be out of your ever-loving mind if you think I was even able to keep still once I heard this group's name existed. And that they were popular.
Those of you who may be superficially aware of Teddy Pendregrass' personality may not be surprised to know that he was a very proud, some would even say cocky man. To attain the heights he reached and pull himself up from the lows he fell to, I would expect this. Confidence certainly was part of his charm and mystique and without it, he would not have even been deemed worthy to even have been given a tribute.
I take issue with the notion that a group with the name "Lady Antebellum" be given the liberty to sing anything by Teddy Pendergrass. Despite the fact that Teddy is likely still rolling in his grave after last night's performance, the last person I recall doing a halfway decent rendition of a Teddy Pendergrass song, in addition to being cast as the legend in a biopic is Tyrese, and even he didn't know anything about the "tribute" the GRAMMY Awards had planned.
In short, this whole situation was just wrong. It was wrong, disrespectful, and was further proof that the same organization that put on that most bloated attempt to dress up the sad state of popular music has no idea how much they offended a segment of the population without which none of the music it honored would even be here. It's sad really. In the meantime, I will continue to not expect anything from any future GRAMMY Awards celebrations, so long as they agree to not disrespect my people's legacy so egregiously.