Alicia Keys kicked off the 2020 GRAMMYs with a special tribute in honor of late basketball legend Kobe Bryant. The R&B singer was the host for last night's awards show, and wasted no time in addressing Bryant's passing, which had tragically occurred just hours earlier.
His death was felt especially hard within the Staples Centre where the GRAMMYs took place, as it happened to be the very arena Bryant called home when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers. Keys even referred to it as "the house that Kobe Bryant built" in her opening speech, further hitting home just how much of an impact the NBA star had.
"Right now, Kobe and his daughter Gianna, and all of those that have been tragically lost today are in our spirit," Keys went on to say. "They’re in our hearts and our prayers. They’re in this building”.
Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men performed in Kobe's honor
After her speech, Keys then brought out R&B group Boyz II Men to join her in song onstage. Together they performed an acapella version of "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" as a way to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant, which visibly moved the audience. Watch the touching performance here:
Alicia wanted to "keep the vibrations high" for Kobe
Following her performance with Boyz II Men, Alicia Keys went on to acknowledge the night's ultimate purpose of celebrating music, voicing her support for all of the artists who had come together to be there.
"We’re going to bring it all together, we’re going to love together, and we’re going to make sure that we are celebrating the most powerful energy, the most beautiful thing in the world," Keys said in her follow-up speech. "The one thing that has the power to bring all of us together. That’s music. It’s the most healing thing in the world.”
In an effort to boost morale despite the day's devastating tragedy, Keys mentioned how Kobe himself loved music and "would want us to keep the vibrations high". She then performed an original song she'd written to honor all of those who'd come together to celebrate music on that evening. "'Cause it's the GRAMMYs, we're gonna have a ball/And I'm Alicia Keys to get you through it all," Keys sang to the tune of GRAMMY nominee Lewis Capaldi's chart-topping "Someone You Loved".