Annie Lennox paid tribute to the late Sinéad O’Connor during the In Memoriam segment of the Grammys Sunday by performing the artist’s global smash “Nothing Compares 2 U” and channeling her activism.
At the end of the moody number, Lennox — with mascara running down her cheek – held her left hand to the sky and exclaimed, “artists for cease fire, peace in the world.”
O’Connor, who died last July at the age of 56, spoke out about human rights, racism and organized religion. She was banned from Saturday Night Live for tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II during her performance two years later.
“Nothing Compares 2 U” was culled from her second album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, which was No. 1 in the U.S. for six weeks and has gone double platinum. It won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance at the 33rd annual ceremony, but O’Connor wouldn’t attend the ceremony or accept the Grammy; instead, she wrote a letter to the Recording Academy that criticized how it promoted materialistic values over artistic merit.
Viewers embraced Lennox’s decision to speak out about the Israel-Hamas conflict, with one calling it “the most meaningful and honest way to honor Sinéad memory.”