Amber Riley Pays Tribute to ‘Glee’ Co-Star Naya Rivera with Moving Performance

Amber Riley gives a powerful performance in memory of her friend and “Glee” co-star Naya Rivera.

On Thursday’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” the actress and singer performed a new track called “A Moment,” off her self-titled EP out October 2.

“Not too long ago, we both lost a really amazing friend in a tragic accident and we both will miss her forever,” guest host Lil Rel Howery said in Riley’s introduction. “I want to thank the show for really letting us do this and [Riley’s] here to perform a tribute to our good friend, Naya Rivera.”

During Riley’s moving tribute, photos of Rivera — including one of her and her son Josey, 4 — flashed across the screen.

At the end of her performance, Riley turned to look at Rivera’s image behind her.

Watch the touching video, below:

On July 8, Rivera accidentally drowned during a boating trip with Josey in Ventura County, California.

Days later, on July 13, her body was found in the northeast portion of Lake Piru.

At a press conference that day, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub told reporters that Rivera may have spent her final moments saving Josey, who was found alone on a boat wearing a life jacket.

“We know from speaking with her son, that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point during their journey. It was during that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind,” the sheriff said. “He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”

Ayub continued, “The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored, and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”

July 23 on Instagram, Riley honored Rivera by posting a carousel of images of them performing together.

“I’m so mad the world will never see how high you could have soared,” Amber wrote about Naya. “Her brain was brilliant. She was smart and as quick as a whip. Always had me in stitches, we would be in tears laughing so hard at one another.”

View this post on Instagram

Best duets on the show! PERIODT! Couldn’t tell us shxt 😂 Honorable mention, Troubletones, @heatherrelizabethh and @littlelengies 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾 miss you baby girl and I love you #NayaRivera I’m so mad the world will never see how high you could have soared. Her brain was brilliant. She was smart and as quick as a whip. Always had me in stitches, we would be in tears laughing so hard at one another. - There was never competition, or shade, or intimidation with us. Just pure adoration and mutual respect. You deserved better. You were so much more than just this show. Your talent outshined us all so many times! - Favorite Naya Moment: tour bus to London, Naya greasing her scalp with Doo Gro oil, a plastic cap and a silk bonnet 😂 my sister said “oh Naya you blackity black black” we burst out into laughter! We needed it too because we just wanted to get home to our families. We were alike in that way. We love hard, and protect our own, and we don’t take no shit from anyone (Kevin is literally the byproduct of US 😂) We can either slice you with our words, or bring you comfort with that same breath. Dealer’s choice. I say your name everyday and hold you in my heart, just like I do Cory. - We are working as a cast and crew and a family to come together and show love, and it’s all because of you. Your presence brought so much excitement, so much passion, so much joy, and in your absence you’re STILL holding us accountable and getting us together. I’ve cried until my tear ducts have dried out, now it’s time to celebrate the fact that us mere humans got to experience walking through life with an earth angel. Rest well. I pray you found the peace we all are searching for. - Please keep Naya’s family in your prayers. Please be mindful of the things you say to them or messages you send. If it’s anything beyond condolences and words of encouragement, keep it to yourself. All they need is love and good energy and support right now. We clear? Cool. Thank you 🙏🏾

A post shared by Amber Riley (@msamberpriley) on

The next day, Rivera was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

She will be missed.


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