Beyoncé opened Kobe and Gianna Bryant's memorial ceremony today by singing emotional renditions of "XO" and "Halo." She started by performing "XO," then paused to tell the crowd, "I’m here because I love Kobe, and this was one of his favorite songs. So I want to start that over but I want us to do it all together. I want you to sing it so loud, he can hear the love. Are you all ready? I love you.”
With a choir backing her, Beyoncé then sang the two tracks. She ended her performance by looking up and blowing a kiss, her eyes teary.
When news first broke that Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the nine victims killed in a helicopter crash, Beyoncé shared three posts on her Instagram in their honor. "I will continue to diligently pray for your Queens," she wrote. "You are deeply missed beloved Kobe."
Photographers were forbidden from taking snaps of Beyoncé during her performance at Kobe Bryant’s memorial in Los Angeles on Monday, according to several photo agencies.
Editors at the Associated Press and Getty Images told The Post that organizers of the livestreamed Staples Center event prohibited them from taking photos of the Grammy-winning singer or Bryant’s children.
The pop superstar kicked off the memorial to the Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, by performing her hit songs “XO” and “Halo.”
One insider at the event said, “It is so offensive to Kobe’s family and the fans, Beyoncé is so controlling of her image — she usually only allows approved selected images of her to be released — so no photographers at the Kobe memorial were allowed to take her picture. Really, at a memorial? Not even the family of Michael Jackson did that.
“A Staples Center staffer was dispatched to make sure not a single camera was focused on the stage. The photographers couldn’t believe it. This doesn’t help Beyoncé’s image at all, it hurts her. It makes her look like a diva. The memorial wasn’t about her. The only shots of Bey that did emerge were screen grabs from TV. None of the other artists at the memorial asked for this, not Christina Aguilera, not Alicia Keys.”
When Beyoncé took the stage during the Kobe and Gianna Bryant memorial service on Monday, some may have thought it was due to her celebrity status.
But it wasn’t about her putting on a show for those at the Staples Center or viewers watching at home. It was a moment for her to honor her dear friend and support his widow, Vanessa.
From the outside, it may seem like the relationship between Beyoncé and Jay-Z and the Bryants was forged from running in the same Hollywood circles. However, they are more than just famous acquaintances.
Beyoncé and Kobe Bryant were friends for decades Back when Beyoncé was a rising teenage star as part of Destiny’s Child, Bryant was still an up-and-coming star player for the Lakers. At the time, he was also trying his hand at rapping and snagged an opportunity to hop on a remix for Destiny Child’s “Say My Name.”
That same year – 1999 – Bryant also appeared in the music video with the group for “Bug A Boo.” Little do some fans know that Destiny’s Child was also featured on his 2000 album, Visions, on a track called “Baby, Baby, Baby.” Sony never released his project.
Bryant even played ball with Beyoncé’s dad In 2019, an old video surfaced of Bryant playing a quick game of one-on-one with Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father and former manager of Destiny’s child. It happened while he was on set for the music video, and the girl group can be seen standing in the background.
After it went viral, Bryant shared the story behind the game and his friendship with the singers. During an interview with Fox News, he said he’d known Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland for a long time and was invited to be in the video.
Bryant added that their “careers were parallel tracking” and they were “kind of ascending at the same time.”
Earlier this week, Vanessa Bryant shared an emotional clip from Kobe Bryant's Muse, a documentary focusing on Kobe Bryant's 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 2015 film aired on Showtime, which still has the film readily available to stream on its platforms. The film is also available to stream on Amazon Prime with a Showtime subscription.
On Instagram, Vanessa shared a clip from Muse's end credits, showing Bryant playing cards with her and their daughters. She shared the lyrics to Beyonce Knowles' "XO," which Beyonce performed at the Celebration of Life memorial on Monday.
"Missing you both so much #GigiBryant and [Kobe Bryant] MUSE documentary," Vanessa wrote in the caption, adding a heart emoji. "Even missing your 'earthquakes' - (leg shakes) song is XO by [Beyonce]."
Muse was directed by Gotham Chopra and produced by Bryant. Following Bryant's death in a helicopter crash last month, Chopra shared two stories from working with Bryant on Religion of Sports.
In the first story, Chopra was impressed by Bryant's film knowledge. One of their collaborators mentioned Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, which inspired Bryant to suddenly check out every movie Aronofsky ever made. The next time they were working on the film, he came back with more ideas for the film based on other Aronofsky movies.
"I stared at him speechless. I was doing the math in my head. It was quite possible that he had done nothing else since I last saw him but watch Aronofsky movies. Like not even had a meal or gone to the bathroom, let alone slept," Chopra wrote. "I asked him why he felt the need to watch all those films. He shrugged. 'How could I have an opinion on Black Swan and why Aronofsky did what he did if I didn’t understand his mind?' For him, it wasn’t about understanding the film, it was about understanding the artist’s mind. That was Kobe."
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has issued a statement saying Sheriff Alex Villanueva is “deeply disturbed” by news reports that deputies snapped and passed around photos from last month’s helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others.
“The Sheriff’s Department is aware of recent media reports alleging deputies shared images from the January 26th, 2020 helicopter crash, which tragically claimed the lives of nine people. The facts surrounding these allegations are currently under investigation, as are the effectiveness of existing policies and procedures,” the LASD said in a statement Friday.
“The sheriff is deeply disturbed at the thought deputies could allegedly engage in such an insensitive act,” the department added.