Held in the building in which Kobe Bryant became a legend, the 62nd annual Grammy Awards paid tribute Sunday evening to the basketball superstar who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.
With Bryant’s retired numbers 8 and 24 illuminated in the Staples Center rafters, top Grammy nominee Lizzo took the stage for an opening number, but shouted before she began, “Tonight is for Kobe,” eliciting a roar of approval from the star-studded crowd.
After the performance, show host Alicia Keys acknowledged the tragedy.
“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero,” she said. “And we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built. Right now Kobe and his daughter Gianna and all of those that have been tragically lost today are in our spirits, are in our hearts, in our prayers. They’re in this building and I would like to ask everybody to take a moment and just hold them inside, hold them inside of you and share our strength and our support with their families. We never imagined in a million years we’d have to start the show like this. Never, never, never, never.”
Keys then sang a tribute melody with Boyz II Men, concluding with, “We love you, Kobe.”
She said the show would go on, but with Bryant and other victim’s of the Sunday morning helicopter crash weighing heavy on the proceedings.
“I know that we’re gonna do what we’re here to do,” she said. “I know that we’re all gonna join together and do what we do in happy times and in challenging times. We’re gonna sing together, we’re gonna laugh together, we’re gonna dance together, we’re gonna cry together, we’re gonna bring it all together. We’re gonna love together, and we’re gonna make sure that we are celebrating the most powerful energy, the most beautiful thing in the world, the one thing that has the power to bring all of us together, and that’s music. It’s the most healing thing in the world.”
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