Two weeks ago, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant were put to rest in a private burial at the Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar.
Today, celebrities, sports legends, NBA superstars and thousands of heartbroken fans were able to pay tribute to Bryant and Gigi at a public memorial held in the House that Kobe Built, the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Hours before the doors opened, fans began to line up outside of the arena patiently, awaiting an opportunity to say farewell. At 8:30 a.m. PT the sea of adoring fans entered somberly, dressed in purple and gold Lakers jerseys and homemade T-shirts in remembrance of the former NBA superstar.
The memorial opened with Beyonce singing one of Bryants favorite songs, “XO” followed by “Halo.” In addition to Beyonce, Alicia Keys delivered a rousing performance of Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata No. 14,” and Christina Aguilera performed “Ave Maria” in Italian.
Comedian and Talk Show Host, Jimmy Kimmel fought back tears as he served as “master of ceremonies,” but it was NBA great, Shaquille O’Neal, who provided the comic relief.
O’Neal took to the stage and shared a hilarious story about the day Bryant earned his respect. “The day Kobe gained my respect, the guys were complaining, said ‘Shaq, Kobe’s not passing the ball. I said ‘I’ll talk to him. I said, ‘Kobe, there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.” Kobe said, ‘I know, but there’s an ‘M-E’ in there mother f—er.’
The crowd responded with laughter.
However, nothing was more moving than the moment Vanessa Bryant took the stage and spoke so eloquently about her late husband and “baby girl.”
She shared, “Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul. She was always thoughtful. She always would kiss me goodnight, kissed me good morning. There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianca and Capri and I thought she had left school without saying goodbye. I’d text and say ‘no kiss?’ And Gianna would reply with ‘Mama, I kissed you but you were asleep, and I didn’t want to wake you.”
Fighting back the tears, she gave us all a glimpse into the Bryant love story.
“He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. He was an early bird and I was a night owl. I was fire and he was ice and vice versa at times. We balanced each other out.
He would do anything for me. I have no idea how I deserved a man that loved and wanted me more than Kobe. He was charismatic, a gentleman, he was loving, adoring and romantic. He was truly the romantic one in our relationship and looked forward to Valentine’s days and our anniversaries every year. He planned special anniversary trips and a special traditional gift for every year of our marriage. He even handmade my most treasured gifts.”
Let’s continue to keep the Bryant family in our thoughts and prayers. R.I.P to the eternal #GirlDad!
The Best Tributes You Didn’t See On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2021
Every year as the United States celebrates the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his lasting legacy, we see social media platforms littered with various MLK quotations, “love one another” captions, you know – the general bulls**t we all wish we didn’t have to see on an annual basis.
What we don’t see enough are actual dialogues about who MLK was and the type of radical he actually was. He was not a martyr – he died as the State turned a blind eye to the obvious plots against his life. He was not a capitalist – he died firmly abhorring capitalism. Toward the end of his life, he even grew increasingly concerned with Israel and its treatment of Palestinians.
MLK’s memory and legacy have been sanitized to make white Americans feel less guilty about their treatment of Black Americans and their complicity in white supremacy and its many atrocities. In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King stated in no uncertain terms “that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice…”
Every third Monday in January those white folks more committed to order than to justice put themselves on full display. They proudly wave their “I’m not racist!” flag in Black folks’ faces, as if we give a damn about their shallow tweet quoting a radical they know nothing about or their vapid, over-filtered selfie on Instagram captioned by a “deep, thoughtful” Martin Luther King, Jr. quotation.
Instead of carrying on with the commercialism of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, let’s take a look at a few of the best non-performative tributes the internet provided this year.
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend Share News of the Loss of Their Unborn Child
Early Thursday morning Chrissy Teigen and John Legend let the world know of the loss of their unborn child. In a heartfelt and heartbreaking post to social media, Teigen described her and husband John Legend’s “deep pain you only hear about.” She went on to talk about how the couple does not typically name their children “until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before (they) leave the hospital,” but somehow they fell on the name “Jack.”
The heartbreaking news comes just days after first being admitted to the hospital for what she described as heavy bleeding. However, two days ago, she assured fans that both her and baby were healthy and doing well. Teigen, no stranger to social media, continued to engage her following, giving brief updates along the way, when shortly after midnight she shared photos of her and John in the hospital cradling their newborn in the immediate aftermath.
While her husband has remained largely unproblematic and scandal-free, Teigen has been the frequent target of scathing criticism – much of which is completely valid. From her ridiculing Black hair, to her seemingly mocking intimate partner violence when she referenced Megan Thee Stallion and Tory Lanez’s incident, Chrissy Teigen has been the focus of such harsh vitriol that she has threatened to quit social media altogether on multiple occasions. Sharing such personal news with the world may come as a surprise to many.
Overwhelmingly, however, the internet’s response has been positive and embracing. Celebrities and non-celebs alike have offered words of support to the couple as they go through this difficult time. See both the model’s post and the heartwarming responses to it below.
Chadwick Boseman Passes Away At 43
Actor Chadwick Boseman, best known for his role as King T’Challa in the box office smash “Black Panther” passed away from colon cancer Friday.
The actor was first diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in 2016, but remained active in his career with much of his work being released post-diagnosis. A statement from his family confirmed that he continued to work despite his cancer progressing, befitting a man who brought America’s first Black superhero to the silver screen.
As the news of the actor’s death spread, many took to social media to share their condolences.
The tributes continue to flood in as news of his passing continues to ripple through. Read the official statement from his family below.
“It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman.
Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV.
A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.
It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.
He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side.
The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”