Beyoncé was the first performer during Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant's celebration of life on Monday, singing her songs "XO" and "Halo." For her performance, she wore a gold suit jacket and purple jewelry, but during her rehearsal, the singer opted for a different tribute to Kobe.
In photos shared on Beyoncé's website, the mom of three can be seen rehearsing for the memorial wearing a No. 24 Los Angeles Lakers jersey, which was Kobe's number, tucked into high-waisted jeans over a white turtleneck. She also sported purple eye shadow and a purple manicure with Kobe's name and Gianna's nickname, Gigi, written on her nails in rhinestones.
During the event, Beyoncé told the crowd that "XO" was one of Kobe's favorite songs.
aw omg pic.twitter.com/004is3v7Dd— evan :) (@beyonseh) February 24, 2020
"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 and I want you to sing it so loud they hear your love," she told the crowd.
The 38-year-old changed a few of the song's lyrics out of respect, singing "And I'm laughing into you" instead of "And I'm crashing into you" and "Just kiss me boy XO" instead of "You kill me boy XO." She also finished "Halo" with the line, "He will be your, she will be your halo," referencing both Kobe and Gianna.
Kobe and Beyoncé had been friends for years, and Kobe even appeared in Destiny's Child's music video for "Bug A Boo" in 1999. After Kobe and Gianna's deaths, Beyoncé shared photos of each of them on Instagram as well as a photo of the father and daughter sitting courtside at a basketball game with the caption, "I will continue to diligently pray for your Queens. You are deeply missed beloved Kobe."
Kobe and Gianna's memorial also featured a performance by Alicia Keys, who played Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," which Kobe had taught himself to play as a testament to his wife. Christina Aguilera performed near the end of the event and sang "Ave Maria" in Italian, Bryant's second language. Vanessa gave a eulogy for her husband and daughter and speeches were given by Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, college basketball star and Kobe's mentee Sabrina Ionescu, University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma.
Photo Credit: Getty / Andrew D. Bernstein