The 2016 BET Awards will pay tribute to Prince with an all-star lineup that includes The Roots, D’Angelo, Janelle Monae, and Prince’s former drummer and lover, Sheila E. In a tweet announcing the special tribute to the legendary singer who died on April 21 at age 57-years-old from an opioid overdose, BET promised that more acts will be announced at a later date, reports Paste Magazine.
Since Prince’s shocking death, every genre of music has clamored to pay their musical tribute to the late, legendary singer. Musicians from all varieties drew inspiration from Prince’s innovative music and continue to pay homage in some form. Bruce Springsteen to the cast of Hamlet to Haim, Paul McCartney, Beck, Beyoncé, and Mumford & Sons all paid musical tributes to Prince.
Pop icon Madonna teamed up with Stevie Wonder to perform Prince classics, “Nothing Compared 2 U” and “Purple Rain” at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards on May 22. Despite her good intentions, Madonna’s performance drew substantial criticism. The BET Network vocally showed their disapproval, promising fans a better tribute.
However, before BET commented on her performance via social media, many fans had expressed their immediate disappointment with the Billboard Music Awards choice in performer. Many fans tweeted and posted via Facebook and Instagram that Madonna was not a strong enough singer to honor the legend nor was she a close enough confidant.
BET, at the time of Madonna’s Billboard Music Awards performance, was planning their own Prince tribute. After the award show, BET tweeted, “Yeah, we saw that. Don’t worry. We got you.” The tweet was followed by a commercial released by the network.
The tweet has since been deleted and the commercial is no longer airing but not before Madonna addressed their public disapproval of her performance. Madonna expressed her thoughts via Instagram.
“Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to. Whatever your age, gender or skin color. If you loved him and he inspired you then show it!!!! I love Prince 4 ever.”
BET responded with a finalized list of their lineup for their tribute. Prince has history with the network. He received a BET Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. To pay tribute to his craft, BET has solicited some of the biggest names in music and close confidants of Prince.
The Tonight Show house band member and Roots drummer Questlove will perform, and he helped produce the Billboard tribute to Prince. Since the award show, he has defended Madonna’s performance. He tweeted “just to sing his work is brave enough” but he also said that those who took issues with the performance may still be grieving the singer’s untimely death.
“A lot of us are left feeling incomplete in the act of saying goodbye. It’s hard to accept him no longer being here… (and on the surface) face of health & invincible agelessness [succumb] to something so… friggin basic.”
He went on to say, “EVERYBODY wants and deserves a chance to say goodbye in their own way. But remember: there will be AMAs, SoulTrain, NAACP, MTV, GRAMMYS. And a gazillion other tributes,” he tweeted. “But the point is let’s not get ugly w playing the ‘Prince would and wouldn’t approve’ game. & this isn’t *just about* the Madge/Stevie tribute btw.”
D’Angelo paid tribute, initially, in May on The Tonight Show. He performed Prince’s “Sometimes It Snows In April.” Janelle Monae attended Prince’s last concert in Atlanta and also performed in BET’s tribute to the late Michael Jackson. Sheila E is a longtime collaborator and one-time fiancée of Prince and will also perform in the special tribute.
The BET Awards are scheduled to air June 26.
[Photo by Jakob Joergense/AP Images]