Hours after Beyonce’s surprise performance at the memorial service for Kobe Bryant on Monday, a report emerged that the singer had banned photographers from taking pictures of her during her performance, allegedly because she wanted to keep tight control over her image.
Now, a new report is casting doubt on that reason.
Beyonce opened “A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant” at the Staples Center in Los Angeles by singing her songs “XO” and “Halo.” As the New York Post’s Page Six reported not long after the service ended, event organizers told official photographers from the Associated Press and Getty Images that they could not take pictures of her during the emotional performance. A Staples Center staffer was even assigned to make sure that none of the photographers turned their cameras toward the stage, the report claimed.
The report added that Beyonce’s demand didn’t sit well with those close the Bryant family and was seen as a selfish act on the part of the singer.
“It is so offensive to Kobe’s family and the fans, Beyonce is so controlling of her image — she usually only allows approved selected images of her to be released,” the source told Page Six, “So no photographers at the Kobe memorial were allowed to take her picture.”
But a new report claims that Beyonce was not thinking about herself, and instead was worried her appearance might take attention away from the celebration of Kobe and Gianna’s lives. A source told Hollywood Life that the “Lemonade” singer wanted her performance to be a tribute to Kobe and something special for his now-widow, Vanessa.
“Beyonce asked that no pictures of her were taken at Kobe’s memorial,” the source said. “She didn’t want to take the attention away from Vanessa [Bryant] and the family. She only performed because she loved Kobe and wanted to do something special for Vanessa.”
As the report added, there were already widespread videos of her performance, so it would have seemed odd for her to try to control photos.
Other evidence also seems to suggest the more recent story claiming that Beyonce was being sensitive to the grieving family. The Hollywood Life report noted that Beyonce has been close to both Kobe and Vanessa Bryant since the 1990s, when Kobe appeared on the remix of the Destiny’s Child song “Say My Name.” It pointed out that Beyonce sat next to friend Vanessa and consoled her during the service.