Sheila E. Accused Of Cashing In On Prince’s Legacy After Apollonia Drops 5-Year Estrangement Bombshell

The 'Purple Rain' legend's longtime collaborator has been his most visible advocate in the four years since his death.

Sheila E. (L) and Prince perform onstage during the 2007 NCLR ALMA Awards held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on June 1, 2007 in Pasadena, California.
Vince Bucci / Getty Images

The 'Purple Rain' legend's longtime collaborator has been his most visible advocate in the four years since his death.

Sheila E. is being accused of “cashing in” on the legacy of late music legend Prince. One week after she served as musical director for CBS’ Grammy salute to Prince, the drummer’s alleged estrangement from her longtime mentor and collaborator is making headlines.

Sheila E. has been one of Prince’s most visible promoters since his sudden death on April 21, 2016. But four years later, a source told Page Six that the “Purple Rain” singer had been estranged from the percussion queen for years before he died. The source told the outlet that Prince was “pissed off” at Sheila E. because she revealed information about him in a book without asking for his permission.

“They got into a huge fight and did not speak for five years,” the insider claimed. “She was not allowed at Paisley Park. He wouldn’t allow her to come to shows. It was a complete shut-out.”

The insider added that following Prince’s death, Sheila “now acts like she’s the widow.”

Prince’s former saxophone player Adrian Crutchfield noted that it is “strange” that everything Sheila E. works on now is in regards to Prince’s legacy. Crutchfield said he “never” saw Sheila at the Paisley Park compound and that there were “definitely certain moments of shade if she was mentioned” around Prince. He also said Prince’s management team made it clear the “The Glamorous Life” singer wasn’t welcome on the premises.

The new comments come days after Apollonia, Prince’s protégé and “Purple Rain” co-star, blasted Sheila E. in a scathing Facebook post following the release of Sheila’s new Prince tribute song, ”Lemon Cake.” The song dropped just before the TV special, Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Tribute to Prince, aired on CBS last week and a music video is on the way.

In the post, Apollonia quoted music producer Linda Perry as saying that Sheila is “so desperate to be relevant,” according to an excerpt posted by Spin.

“Prince refused to acknowledge you for 5 years before his death because of your lies,” Apollonia wrote to Sheila. “He did not want anything to do with you for 5 years. You erased all that history by being your desperate egotistical self. Egotistical empty sad desperate for money.”

Apollonia alleged that Sheila raised money for music schools and other charities but that the cash went into her “dirty pockets” instead, and she claimed that for years before his death Prince was “angry” with Sheila’s “continuous lies.” Apollonia vowed to include legal letters Prince sent to her when she publishes her upcoming memoir. She also told Sheila to “stop using Prince in death.”

Sheila E.’s career has surged since her longtime mentor’s death. But fans may recall that in 2016, it was Madonna who was asked to headline a Prince tribute at the Billboard Music Awards instead of Sheila, Apollonia, or The Time.

At the time, Linda Perry was a guest on The Talk, and she commented that Madonna was asked to perform the tribute because artists like The Time and Sheila E. are “not relevant right now.” Perry did go on to say that Billboard Music Award producers should have thought bigger and invited Sheila E. and The Time to perform, but that they were more concerned about having an artist that would “sell” their show.

Sheila fired back via an Instagram post in which she reminded all artists that they are “relevant” no matter what a “misinformed” talk show guest thinks.

Sheila E. later headlined a tribute to Prince at the BET Awards. The drummer was accompanied by the Time’s Jerome Benton and Prince’s ex-wife, dancer Mayte Garcia for the tribute.