Grammy Awards honor LA icons Nipsey Hussle, Kobe Bryant
The 2020 Grammy Awards was filled with tributes to Los Angeles icons as the night honored and celebrated the lives and legacies of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and rapper Nipsey Hussle, who won his first Grammy posthumously Sunday.
The Grammys kicked off with a performance in honor of Bryant, who died hours before the awards began. And later in the show Hussle’s collaborators and friends, including DJ Khaled, John Legend, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch and YG, gave an all-star tribute to the man who died last year.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay introduced the performance, which featured band players, background dancers and Legend wearing traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean clothing in honor of Hussle’s African roots. Mill performed a new song called “Letter to Nipsey” while others joined together for “Higher,” which is nominated for best rap/sung performance.
“Rest in peace Nipsey Hussle. Rest in peace Kobe Bryant,” DJ Khaled said as photos of the entertainers appeared onscreen.
During the pre-ceremony, Hussle’s “Racks in the Middle” picked up best rap performance.
The show — taking place in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, Bryant’s stomping ground — kicked off with a touching, emotional and a cappella performance of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by host Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men.
“Here we are together on music’s biggest night celebrating the artists that do it best, but to be honest with you we are all feeling crazy sadness right now,” Keys said as she entered the stage, adding that “Los Angeles, America and the world-wide world lost a hero.”
She said the audience was “heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
“Right now Kobe and his daughter Gianna … are in our spirits, they’re in our hearts, they’re in prayers, they’re in this building,” she added. “Take a moment and hold them inside of you and share our strength and our support with their families.”
Before the show officially honored Bryant, Lizzo performed the songs “Truth Hurts” and “Cuz I Love You,” saying at the top of the show: “Tonight is for Kobe.”