Alicia Keys channeled Kobe Bryant’s “energy and fighting spirit” as she hosted the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday (January 26, 2020) following the heartbreaking news of the basketball star’s tragic death.
The 41-year-old and his teenage daughter, Gianna, 13, were traveling to one of her basketball games in his private helicopter when it crashed in Calabasas on Sunday (January 26, 2020) morning. Both were among a reported nine people who lost their lives.
The news broke shortly before the prizegiving ceremony was due to take place in Los Angeles, with the Recording Academy’s interim chief Harvey Mason, Jr. holding a “moment of silence” as he opened the ceremony.
Keys went on to oversee proceedings at the event and, speaking with Entertainment Tonight after the show, she reflected on how she managed to hold it together in spite of the heartbreaking news.
“This was a really hard night, and that’s why I think it was a roller coaster,” she said. “It was painful, it’s painful right now. We lost a beloved, beloved hero to all of us. A person who is like a true example of brilliance and excellence.”
The star, who performed a touching musical tribute to the National Basketball Association (NBA) player, added: “It’s not easy to go forward with all of that weight,” she admitted. “But I think that the energy that he always brought and that fighting spirit… is what brought us through tonight.”
The singer was joined by Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men for a powerful performance of their 1991 hit, It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye, of which she reflected: “I feel like he was just in all of our hearts and spirits and that’s what made it feel good.”
Lizzo also honored Bryant in her opening number, dedicating her performance and the awards ceremony to the sportsman.