As far back as the 1999 remix of Destiny Child‘s “Say My Name,” Beyoncé and Kobe Bryant had a heartwarming friendship that endured through the years. That energy was on display on Monday (February 24) when she opened the memorial service for the late basketball great and his daughter Gianna at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. In her stirring show, she performed both “Halo” and “XO” to honor his memory.
Beyoncé’s two songs came with magnificent vocals featuring an enormous choir and live instruments. With an emotional smile on her face, she prefaced her performance of “XO” with an explanation of why she chose the song. “I’m here because I love Kobe, and this was one of his favorite songs,” she began. “I want you to sing it so loud that he can hear your love,” she continued. The live rendition of “Halo” ended with a roof-shattering drum roll followed by Beyoncé blowing a kiss to the sky.
Later during the program, Alicia Keys also played a song in tribute to Kobe, performing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on a piano while supported by a string quartet. Before she played it, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka explained that it was important to Kobe and his relationship with Vanessa, Billboard reports.
Kobe and Gianna died in a helicopter crash on January 26. That night at the 62nd Grammy Awards, he was honored by Keys, who hosted, with a touching performance featuring Boyz II Men and then again during a tribute to Nipsey Hussle.
Check out Beyoncé’s warm performance of “Halo” up above.