Alicia Keys Opens the 2020 Grammys With a Special Tribute to Kobe Bryant

Host Alicia Keys opened the Grammys with a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, and a performance accompanied by Boyz II Men

By Lauren Piester Jan 27, 2020 1:20 AMTags
Watch: DJ Khaled, Common & More Remember Kobe Bryant at 2020 Grammys

It was a somber start to the 2020 Grammys on Sunday. 

After the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13 year-old daughter Gianna earlier in the day, host Alicia Keys took the stage and paid tribute to the Lakers star, who played for two decades in the Staples Center, where the Grammys are being held. 

"Here we are together on music's biggest night celebrating the artists that do it best, but to be honest with you, we're all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today, Los Angeles, America, and the whole wide world lost a hero. And we're literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built," she said. "Right now Kobe and his daughter Gianna and all 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, 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 never never. So we wanted to do something that could describe a tiny bit of how we all feel right now."

Grammys 2020 Red Carpet Fashion

Keys then began singing "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," and was joined by Boys II Men to sing a gorgeous a capella rendition of the song.

"We love you Kobe," Keys said as the camera showed his jerseys, #8 and #24, hanging above the arena. 

"And I know that we're gonna do what we're here to do. I know that we're gonna all join together and do what we do in happy times and in challenging times," she continued. "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." 

Keys then introduced Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, the night's second performers. Lizzo opened the night with a rousing performance of her hits, after announcing that the night was all for Kobe. 


Francis Specker/CBS

This is Keys' second year as host of the ceremony. Last year, she used the moment to bring out a few of her most powerful friends, including Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michelle Obama, and Jennifer Lopez, who all spoke about the power of music in their lives. 

Kobe Bryant was killed earlier on Sunday morning in a helicopter crash that also killed eight other people. He was 41.