As crews prepared for music’s biggest night and artists readied themselves for the red carpet, the world was met with unthinkable news. Hours before the 2020 GRAMMY Awards, reports came in about the death of Kobe Bryant. A cloud moved in over the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the professional home of one of the world’s greatest athletes, and suddenly a night of celebration became a coping mechanism for many across the country.
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died earlier on Sunday morning, losing their lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA that killed 9. Tributes poured in throughout the day for the Los Angeles Lakers star, but it was inside the Staples Center where the loss might have been felt the most.
“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,” Alicia Keys admitted as she walked onto the stage, noting that they were all “heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
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With his jerseys illuminated in the rafters of the Staples Center, Keys started the first words of “It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” as Boyz II Men walked to the platform to join her. Honoring and mourning, projecting the power of music to do both. Keys guided the room through, comforting and consoling the only way the GRAMMYs could.