May 23, 2016


Questlove to Billboard Music Awards Prince Tribute Detractors: 'Let’s Not Get Ugly'

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

BET has already come for Sunday night's Billboard Music Awards–closing Prince tribute, and now Questlove has stepped up to try and balance the conversation.

An hour after the show ended, The Roots' drummer hopped on Twitter to chat with his 3.65 million followers. In a string of tweets, he spoke about the many sides of grieving and why Madonna and Stevie Wonder's performance of "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "Purple Rain" was welcome.

Here's Questlove's text in full:

"Because of P's well known love for the *poof* vanishing act. A lot of us are left feeling incomplete in the act of saying goodbye. For starters it’s hard to accept him no longer being here. & in the upcoming award season for '17 there will be a gang of tributes. Naturally there will be folded arms & shade thrown because the Purple Standard is hard boots to fill & a lot of us don’t wanna come 2 grips---w the fact that Prince--(an on the surface) face of health & invincible agelessness subcomb [sic] to something so….friggin basic.

So w mourning will come sadness & anger. 1st week I cried. 2nd week I tried to atone for his sins w gettin 8-10 hrs of sleep he didn't get. Now anger is in the air w who (in our eyes) is allowed to mourn & how they are allowed to mourn.---none of us were prepared for his death. So I know there is gonna be A LOT of ‘feel a certain ways’ about who you want to see do his music justice---but you gotta put that aside yall. Every Prince rendition will not be a life changing orgasmic xperience. Just to SING his work is brave enough. Again feeling are on high, and 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. But the point is let’s not get ugly with playing the ‘Prince would and wouldn’t approve’ game. ....& this isn't *just about* the Madge/Stevie tribute btw. I've been gettin earfuls from in/outside the Purple Circle concerning inclu/exclusions of his estate/work/memorials/tributes who in who not."

In reply to someone remarking, "yes! The thing is, everyone expected more from Billboard and they didn't deliver. Not knocking Madonna's efforts at all," Questo wrote:

Head here to see BET's thoughts on the matter—and the subsequent ripple effect. Then see the 2016 Billboard Music Awards complete winners list and our reviews of Rihanna's phenomenal "Love on the Brain" performance and Céline Dion's dazzling Queen cover.