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Photography Luke Gilford

Lizzo pays tribute to Kobe Bryant with Grammys opening performance

‘Tonight is for Kobe’

Lizzo kicked off the live performances at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards with a medley of tracks including “Cuz I love You”, the title track from her major label debut, and her smash hit “Truth Hurts”. 

But just before belting out her first note, Lizzo said: “Tonight is for Kobe,” paying tribute to the basketball star who tragically died just hours earlier along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash.

Lizzo put in an incredible vocal performance and threw in some ballet dancing and flute playing to the delight of the crowd inside the Staples Center, the home stadium of Bryant’s basketball team, the LA Lakers. 

Alicia Keys also noted the influence of Bryant before her performance with Boyz II Men just moments later: “We’re literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” Keys said. She added: “Here we are together on music’s biggest night, celebrating the artists who do it best. To be honest, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now. Because, earlier today, Los Angeles, America, and the whole wide world lost a hero.”

Lizzo found herself back onstage almost immediately to pick up the award for Best Pop Solo Vocal Performance for the track she’d just performed, “Truth Hurts”. On accepting the award she said: “I realised there are people hurting now, and you guys create beautiful music... we need to continue to reach out. This is the beginning of making music that's good again, music that liberates people. And if I hadn't reached out, I wouldn't have met my best friends... thank you so much for lifting me up, let's continue to hold each other down and lift each other up, thank you so much.”