Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna tragically died from a plane crash the morning of the 2020 Grammys (January 26), so a tribute, if it was going to be pulled off, needed quick thinking and fast action.
For those performing, they had to struggle with mourning and preparing to sing in-front of the world, who would be counting on them for a tiny bit of comforting. Nathan Morris, whose group Boyz II Men, performed alongside Alicia Keys their hit single “It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” and spoke to GQ about how it all came together so last minute.
“We were in the dressing room rehearsing the actual song we had come to the Grammys to perform. The show wasn’t too far from starting, and we got the call asking if we wanted to do ‘It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,’” Morris told the publication.
“We always try to be ready vocally, but I mean, when you care about somebody in this manner, you can be vocally ready, but you may not be mentally ready. We sat around and tried to figure it out. Alicia wanted to sing it with us, so we went to her dressing room and created a little something in like 10 minutes.”
He continued: “We came in our street clothes. We didn’t have anything else to wear. I saw some comments online of people complaining about us coming out in street clothes. I was like, uh, okay. I didn’t even realize it in the moment. Kobe deserved a hell of a lot more than what we were able to give him. We just gave him what we had. It came from our hearts, and that’s all we could do.”
When asked for his reaction to Kobe’s sudden passing, he, like many, couldn’t believe the news was real.
“We were in the trailer getting dressed for the run-through for the Grammys. The name itself, Kobe, when you hear that—and knowing the Internet nowadays and how people throw out hoaxes—the first thing you think is stop bulls*****g me,” he said. “That’s not a joke. But the person who told me, I could tell in their voice it was real. I had no words. I had to pause a minute and soak in that this was the truth. I will tell you, even as of today, it still hasn’t soaked in yet. When someone is older, you say, ‘Oh man, they had a great life.’ This guy, it’s still not real.”
Kobe, Gianna, along with seven other people, were killed Sunday while taking a helicopter to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice in nearby Thousand Oaks. The aircraft crashed in Calabasas and killed everyone on board.
Photo: Francis Specker/CBS via Getty Images