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Vanessa Bryant Eulogizes her husband Kobe Bryant and Daughter Gigi

Vanessa Bryant



It was a somber bittersweet day in the Staples Center in Los Angeles when 20,000 mourners packed into the indoor stadium that the late NBA Player Kobe Bryant built to bid him and his 13-year old daughter Gianna farewell.

His widow Vanessa Bryant, a celebrity mom covered often on the blog, gave a heart breaking but still beautiful eulogy of her husband and daughter. As USA Today summarized in its coverage:

She mourned the loss of her “baby girl” Gianna, “a sweet and gentle soul” and preternaturally talented athlete who she said was destined for WNBA greatness. She remembered her husband as a soulful romantic with a “tender heart” and a “doting” father for whom family always came first.

“They were funny, happy, silly, and they loved life,” Vanessa said of Kobe and Gianna, adding: “God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together.”

Beyonce Knowles Carter opened the event performing one of her hits, “XO” which she said was one of Kobe’s favorite song with lyrics that go, “In the darkest hour / I’ll search through the crowd / Your face is all I can see / I’ll give you everything.” She later burst into a soulful rendition of her song, “Halo

Alicia Keys moved the crowd by playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” a piece she said was favored by Kobe and Vanessa.

Keys had previously paid tribute to Kobe and Gianna on the night they died, performing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” alongside Boyz II Men at the Grammy Awards last month.

At various points throughout the event, the crowd broke out in chants of “Kobe! Kobe!”

Retired NBA stars Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade, and Tim Duncan along with entertainer Jennifer Lopez and her fiance retired baseball player Alex Rodriguez and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel were all in attendance for the ceremony, along with other celebs like friends of the Bryant family Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.

The date chosen for the memorial — Feb. 24, or 2/24/20 — is a combination of their jersey numbers. Gianna wore No. 2 and her dad wore No. 24 in the latter part of his 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tickets went for variations of 2 and 4, $24.24 or $224 for two.

Several NBA legends like former teammates  Shaquille O’Neal and Jordon gave rousing speeches by my fave was by University of Oregon player Sabrina Ionesco who gave a wonderful speech and tribute to girls sports too in honor of GiGi .

Proceeds will go to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation which raises money to provide sports education and training services for young women. The foundation was originally established as the Mamba Sports Academy, but Bryant’s widow announced that the name was changed to honor their daughter.

Kobe Bryant gave himself the moniker “Black Mamba” after a character in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill.

“Because there is no #24 without #2, we have updated the Mamba Sports Foundation to now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation,” Vanessa Bryant wrote on her Instagram page announcing the name change.

The two were headed to a game during a basketball tournament at a sports arena in Thousand Oaks, California named for Mamba when the helicopter they were riding in crashed killing them along with Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri Altobelli, 46, and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Sarah Chester, 45, and her daughter Payton Chester, 13; as well as Mamba Sports Academy coach Christina Mauser, 38; and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.

Also from a NBCNews report:

Bryant and his daughter were traveling to Gigi’s basketball game in a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter, when it crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26. All eight passengers and the pilot were killed.

The Bryants were laid to rest in a private ceremony in Southern California on Feb. 7.

Before the public ceremony got underway, the Los Angeles Times reported Vanessa Bryant has filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters, the company that operated the chopper. NPR later confirmed the lawsuit with the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board said in its investigative update this month that the chopper’s rotors were both powered and turning at the time of impact, which it said indicates “the engines showed no evidences of uncontained or catastrophic internal failure.”

Photos taken shortly after the crash show conditions were foggy in the hills above Calabasas, but as NPR’s Russell Lewis has reported, the final investigative findings are not expected for at least a year.

photos: Getty

14 Gifs That Perfectly Showcase Beyonce’s Grammy Homage to Motherhood

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By now, most who are in tune with pop culture happenings know that  Beyonce gave a captivating bumpilicious performance at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards that took place at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California last night, February 12th.

Fresh off of the platinum-selling artist’s announcement that she and her husband Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter are expecting twins, the 22-time Grammy-award winning pop star didn’t back down from her commitment to perform LIVE at the show.

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It was glorious and showcased a marvelous celebration of the human body in pregnant form by a woman who was the most nominated for the night (9) though took home just two awards for Best Music Video and Best Urban Contemporary Album.

As could be expected, with her being that heavily pregnant and high-risk and all, she took it slow and opted to sing two ballads from her latest album, “Lemonade”: Love Drought” and “Sandcastles.

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During the performance, the “Love on Top” singer was draped in gold, flowy yellow fabric, regal chains, an ornate crown and draped with colorful maidens in waiting all outfitted in light slip dresses, tribal neck corsets and goddess braids.  She moved slowly and methodically, sounded breathy at times, probably from the pressure of carrying around two human beings while bringing down the house; and the event featured her mom Tina Knowles and daughter Blue Ivy.

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The imagery was reflective of Hindu, African, Orisha and deities and figures, which carried its own controversy and elicited the usual outcry from Christians and the anti-Illuminati crowd.

Though slow and melodious, it was still an impactful performance which really paid homage to motherhood, the birthing process and femininity. The most drama came when the chair at the end of the runway she sat in made a dangerous pivot off the edge. It was enough to have anyone who has ever been pregnant or cared for a pregnant person sit at the edge of her/his own seat, hoping for the best.

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Many agreed, she put a lot of trust in that chair and after a couple of sound snafus last night with Adele’s George Michael tribute and the Lady Gaga and Metallica set, I’m not sure I’d be that certain that a snafu wouldn’t go down.

But alas, when you have a squad this wide and deep who has your back, also known as the Beygency, then what can go wrong, right? These gifs from Vulture‘s gif bible provide an excellent showcase capture of the magnificence of the performance.

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 There were clear elements of the mutli-armed Hindu goddesses a plenty in case one needed reminder of why she is called Queen.

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When you are radiant and ethereal and know it…

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 Rising from ashes like a Phoenix…

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 But still full of enough swagger to work a runway while balancing the weight on ample birthing hips….

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 And with the ground littered with rose petals and flowers to catch your fall just in case…

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which won’t be needed when your throne awaits…

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 And as the herstory continues…

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Your ghost baby hologram throws everyone for a loop…

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Yeah…all that!

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Gracious and full of gratitude and humility…

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Ciara rocks the stage at official Grammy after party (PHOTOS & VIDEOS)

Immediately after showing up in a show-stopping gold Emilio Pucci gown at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, mom-to-be songstress Ciara headlined the official annual Grammy after party.

The Body Party singer looked futuristic and Matrix-like in her all black long jacket with trousers wearing dark shades to sing some of her hits old and new before an audience at the Los Angeles convention center located next to the Staples Center.

Ciara released her 6th studio album last year.  Pregnant women do Rock!

Check out a full gallery of photos over at JustJared.com.



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