Second-time Grammy host Alicia Keys opened up the 2020 Grammy Awards Sunday (Jan. 26) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles with a monologue that paid homage to Kobe Bryant, who was killed earlier Sunday along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a shocking helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA.
Taking the stage in a silvery gown, Keys was somber as she opened the proceedings.
“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 in Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” she said, referring to the Lakers’ home at the Staples Center.
“Right now, Kobe and his daughter Gianna and all those tragically lost today are in our spirits, in our hearts, in our prayers, and they’re in this building. I would like to ask everybody to take a moment and just hold them inside of you and share our strength and support with their families.
“We never imagined in a million years we’d have to start the show like this, so we wanted to do something to describe a tiny bit how we feel right now.”
With that, surprise guests Boyz II Men joined Keys for an impromptu performance of their 1991 version of the classic “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.” It was an understated, touching moment that had the audience fighting back tears.
Watch the full moment below.