“Tonight is for Kobe,” said Lizzo, opening the 62nd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday before launching into “Cuz I Love You.”
Hours earlier news broke of Kobe Bryant’s untimely death. On a foggy morning near Calabasas, Calif., the 41-year-old basketball star was killed in a helicopter crash that also took the life of others, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Before singing a musical tribute, host Alicia Keys took the stage and shared, “Here we are together on music’s biggest night celebrating the artists that do it best, but to be honest with you, we are feeling crazy sad right now.
“We are literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” she continued. The arena is home to Bryant’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Singer JoJo shared she had found out on her way to the award ceremony.
“It’s crazy being here at Staples Center, especially,” she said. Despite breaking onto the scene about 16 years ago at 13 years old with “Leave (Get Out),” it was her first time at the Grammys. “I was in the car with my manager saying, ‘No, no, no, no.’”
It was a somber red carpet. There were mixed emotions with many nominees sharing that the day was “surreal,” “eerie” and “bittersweet.”
“I want to have fun tonight, but I feel guilty,” said Bebe Rexha.
Rapper Rick Ross shared he was “devastated:” “We’re going to celebrate his career today.”
While most stars hurried inside, Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalía — in a red, leather Alexander Wang number — took the time to chat. She was in high spirits, having already won for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album.
“Alex and I we are good friends,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to be dressed in [an] Alexander Wang dress like this. I love him. I love everything that he does. This outfit makes me feel so strong. I’m really, really excited to be wearing it tonight. And I’m excited to be here.”