Francis Specker/CBSAs the world continues to mourn the passing of Kobe Bryant, Alicia Keys says she was “very honored” to pay tribute to the basketball legend Sunday at the Grammy Awards.
The 15-time Grammy winner, who hosted the show, was joined by Boyz II Men to sing their classic, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.”
It was an unforgettable moment as Kobe’s retired Los Angeles Lakers jerseys for numbers 8 and 24 were spotlighted hanging from the ceiling of the Staples Center, where he won five NBA championships.
News of Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash came just a few hours before the telecast began.
“We were all freaking out because obviously hearing the news about Kobe and his daughter was so tragic,” Keys told Ellen DeGeneres Wednesday. “Literally minutes before we were going to do something else and we had to really figure out how could we properly honor him.”
Alicia explained that she picked the song after consulting with her team.
“Boyz II Men was there already that night and we wanted to do something special. Create just something that felt like it was the right thing, and we pulled it together, and it was just beautiful.”
It was a solemn moment, and Keys felt privileged to help people grieve over the shocking loss of an icon.
“It was like that magic that happens when it’s necessary,” Keys declared. “I was very honored to be able to share that moment with all of us, with the entire world, that we together could go through something that hurt so bad together.”
As previously reported, Keys will release her seventh studio album, simply titled ALICIA, on March 20. She’ll also launch her ALICIA world tour on June 5 in Dublin, Ireland.
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