Beyoncé gave a touching performance at Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s “Celebration of Life” memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday.
The 38-year-old singer opened the memorial for Bryant and his daughter Gianna with a performance of her song, “XO,” alongside a choir and orchestra. She was introduced as a close friend of the Bryant family.
“I’m here because I love Kobe and this was one of his favorite songs,” Beyonce shared with the crowd, before asking them to sing along.
“I want you to sing it so loud, they’ll hear your love,” she said, pointing up to the sky.
She then sang “Halo.” Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, was shown wiping away tears after the performance.
Beyoncé spoke out about Kobe’s death on Instagram last month after the basketball icon and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, that also took the lives of seven other victims. “I will continue to diligently pray for your Queens,” Beyonce wrote alongside a picture of Kobe lovingly kissing Gianna on the head. “You are deeply missed beloved Kobe.”
Beyoncé and Kobe have a long history together. Kobe starred in the Destiny’s Child music video for “Bug a Boo” back in 1999. The two kept in touch, posing for pictures together over the years with their significant others — Vanessa, and Beyoncé’s husband, JAY-Z.
Earlier this month, JAY-Z talked about the last conversation he had with Kobe during his first Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter Lecture Series at Columbia University in New York City, sharing that Kobe spent New Year’s Eve with him.
“He was last in my house on New Year’s and he was just in the greatest space that I’ve seen him in,” he recalled. “One of the last things he said to me was, ‘You gotta see Gianna play basketball.’ And that was one of the most hurtful things because he was so proud.”
“The look on his face was like…I looked at him and said, ‘Oh, she’s going to be the best female basketball player in the world,’” he continued. “He was just so proud of what he said.”
The 50-year-old rapper said that he and Beyoncé were having a hard time dealing with Kobe’s death.
“That’s really a tough one and my wife and I took that, are taking that, really tough,” he said. “That’s all I’ll say on that. Just a great human being that was in a great space in his life.”