The 2020 Grammy Awards were held on Sunday (January 26) at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. But a somber air hung over the celebration, as those in attendance mourned the loss of a legend.
Earlier that same day, news broke that retired NBA player Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also killed in the crash.
Seven other passengers were on the helicopter with the Bryants, and all lost their lives.
Legend. Father. Husband. We join the world in mourning and honor your legacy and life. Rest in Peace Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant. Our deepest condolences to your family and all who knew and loved you. pic.twitter.com/jIg1d7F9TZ
— FloridaA&MUniversity (@FAMU_1887) January 27, 2020
Since this tragedy occurred just hours before the Grammys, the night was guaranteed to have an air of sadness about it. The weight of the situation truly sank in because the STAPLES Center serves as the home of the LA Lakers, who Kobe played for over the course of 20 years.
With Kobe’s jersey hanging in the arena, Grammys host Alicia Keys stepped forward to say what was on everyone’s mind. “…to be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now.”
She then addressed the fact they were in the STAPLES Center, saying everyone was “literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
Keys continued her tribute:
“Right now, Kobe and his daughter Gianna and all of those that have been tragically lost today are in our spirit. They’re in our hearts. They’re in our prayers. They’re in this building and I would like to ask everybody to take a moment and just hold them inside of you.”
After that, the former Voice coach welcomed Boyz II Men to the stage to sing an a cappella rendition of their song, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.”
“We never imagined in a million years we’d have to start the show like this…so we wanted to do something that could describe a tiny bit how we all feel right now,” Keys said before they started singing.
Everyone in the group seemed to be fighting back tears during their tribute to Bryant. Cameras panned throughout the audience to show other artists, and all appeared emotional as they listened to Keys and Boyz II Men.
“We love you Kobe,” Keys said at the end of the tribute. The crowd clapped politely and a light shone on Bryant’s jerseys on display in the venue.
You can watch Keys and Boys II Men honor Bryant at the 2020 Grammys by tuning in to the video below.
Our prayers go out to the Bryant family and all others who lost loved ones in the helicopter crash on January 26.