Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Stars attend Amy Winehouse gala

Mitch Winehouse, Janis Winehouse and singer Tony Bennett attend the Amy Winehouse Foundation Inspiration Awards (Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

Stars including Tony Bennett, Harry Belafonte and Jennifer Hudson attended a New York gala dedicated to Amy Winehouse.

The British singer's father, mother and brother, her ex-boyfriend Reg Traviss, Sean Lennon and producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi were also present.

Bennett said he does not think that Winehouse's life was tragic, despite her death aged just 27. He believes that she lived a complete life because she was able to achieve her goal of becoming a respected musician.

"Her dream was to become famous and a beautiful singer, and she accomplished that," Bennett, 86, said yesterday at the first annual Amy Winehouse Foundation Inspiration Awards and Gala, where he received the lifetime achievement award. "Even though she had a short life, she had a great life because she ended up praying for the success that she wanted, and it happened. This is what this night's about."

Winehouse died in 2011 from accidental alcohol poisoning. Though troubled, she was a critical darling and earned five Grammy Awards for her album Back To Black.

The foundation established in her name assists disadvantaged youths, and was launched in Europe in 2011 and last year in the US.

Winehouse and Bennett won a Grammy Award last year for the duet Body & Soul. Belafonte presented the award to Bennett and said Bennett introduced him to Winehouse's music.

Hudson performed three songs at the event, earning a standing ovation. She called the event "beautiful" and said Winehouse was "such a talent, such a gift".

Bennett also wowed with memorable performances of Maybe This Time and Watch What Happens.

Rapper Nas, who was nominated for a Grammy with Winehouse this year for Cherry Wine, also earned an award, accepting in a video.

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