Sheila E. is slamming Linda Perry’s comment that she and some of Prince’s past collaborators and friends are no longer “relevant” enough to honor the late music icon at the Billboard Music Awards. The 4 Non Blondes singer and wife of The Talk co-host Sara Gilbert made her comments on the CBC chatfest, explaining that Madonna was asked to headline the Prince tribute at this year’s edition of the annual awards show because she’s still popular, while some past ’80s superstars aren’t.
Linda Perry kicked off the conversation by saying there’s an uproar over the fact that Madonna is the only artist scheduled to pay tribute to Prince at the ceremony. Perry said there’s a petition to bring back other ’80s icons, like Sheila E., to honor the Purple Rain singer.
The Talk co-host Sheryl Underwood rattled off a list of artists she’d like to see come together to “have a big jam session” to pay homage to Prince, including Larry Graham, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Morris Day and the Time, and Sheila E. But Linda Perry said some of those artists just aren’t relevant enough anymore.
“In all fairness, Madonna was asked to do this and she was friends with Prince but you also have to think about it’s really the Billboard Awards, they think about who is hot and popular,” Perry said. “They’re not gonna call up Chaka Khan and re-put together The Time and Sheila E. because they’re not relevant right now.”
While Linda Perry went on to say that Billboard Music Award producers were only thinking about “what is gonna sell their show,” she admitted that they should have thought bigger and invited artists like Sheila E. and The Time to perform.
“If the show was honestly creative and thought bigger, they could’ve had an amazing show with The Time and Sheila E., Chaka Khan, Lenny Kravitz,” Linda said.
Still, that disclaimer wasn’t enough to appease Sheila E. The “Glamorous Life” singer fired back at Linda Perry’s remarks via an Instagram post, reminding both established and aspiring artists that they are relevant no matter what a “misinformed” talk show guest thinks.
“On behalf of musicians, artists, creators, performers and anyone aspiring to be one of those, YOU ARE RELEVANT!” Sheila E. wrote. “It was exactly that type of attitude and comment, recently conveyed on a talk show by a misinformed guest, that Prince, Paisley Park and those who have been an extension of, continually fought, and still fight, against. The creations and the creators, contrary to fleeting popularity or fame, is what breathes life into art. The lack of understanding, and myopic view of dollars over sense is what perpetuates the ignorance that continually works against the artist and the industry. I am offended! #RELEVANT”
Sheila E. also posted a “movie” poster to help get her point across to Linda Perry.
Sheila E. made a name for herself in the California music scene in the late 1970s before she ever met Prince, but her collaborations with him as a singer and percussionist helped her become one of the biggest stars of the 1980s. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Sheila E. talked about why she stopped touring and working with Prince, even though he remained a lifelong friend.
“I was opening for him on the “Purple Rain” tour, then I was in his band. And then it went to headlining my own shows, and I felt it was too much for me,” Sheila E. explained. “It was a heavy burden to carry to be a superstar. I said, ‘I don’t want to have to worry about doing interviews. I just want to go back to playing drums and percussion.’ That’s part of who he was, too. He just wanted to play.”
Take a look at the video below to see Sheila E. talking about working with Prince.
[Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images]