Irish Grinstead, of the R&B girl group 702, has died at 43. Her sister and fellow 702 member LeMisha Grinstead announced her passing in an Instagram post, writing: “It is with great sadness that I have to let you know that my beautiful sister and friend has passed away this evening. She has had a long battle and she is finally at peace.”
The Grinstead sisters — LeMisha and twins Irish and Orish (Orish passed away in 2008) — were first noticed by the comedian Sinbad while singing in the lobby of Caesars Palace in their hometown of Las Vegas. He encouraged them to enter a music competition that took place in Atlanta, where New Edition’s Michael Bivins decided to work with them and eventually christened the group 702, after the Las Vegas area code.
702 made their on-record debut on Subway’s 1994 single “This Lil’ Game We Play.” After some lineup changes, 702 solidified into a trio made up LeMisha, Irish, and Kameelah Williams. Their debut album No Doubt was released in 1996, and Missy Elliott produced four of the songs on it, including providing a guest verse for their first big hit, “Steelo.” They worked with Elliott again on their sophomore album 702 — that included the album’s single “Where My Girls At?,” which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. After that, 702 took a hiatus and went their separate ways for a time, before reuniting for their last album, 2003’s Star.
The members of 702 performed at the 2019 Black Music Honors show, and LeMisha and Irish were contestants on the 2021 reality TV show BET Presents: The Encore.
“That girl was as bright as the stars!” LeMsiha Grinstead reflected in her Instagram post. ‘She was not only beautiful on the outside, but also within. Sharing the stage with her was a joy I will cherish for the rest of my life! We, the family ask for prayers and respect for our privacy as we grieve an outstanding loss to our family.”