Questlove Defends Madonna From Prince Tribute Backlash

“Let’s not get ugly with playing the ‘Prince would and wouldn’t approve’ game,” says The Roots’ drummer

Last Updated: May 23, 2016 @ 2:20 PM

Reactions were mixed to Madonna and Stevie Wonder’s Prince tribute at Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards, but Questlove quickly rushed to their defense.

“Because of [Prince’s] well known love for the *poof* vanishing act, a lot of us are left feeling incomplete in the act of saying goodbye,” the Roots’ drummer wrote on Sunday. “For starters it’s hard to accept him no longer being here. [And] 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 [to] grips [with] the fact that Prince — (an on the surface) face of health & invincible agelessness — [succumbed] to something so… friggin basic.”

Questlove added that fans are currently experiencing many stages of mourning over the loss of Prince, who died at the age of 57 at his Minnesota Paisley Park compound last month.

“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 y’all,” he continued. “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.”

Questlove, who introduced the musical duo on stage, took to social media shortly after the BET Awards’ official Twitter account threw shade at the performance by promoting its own upcoming Prince tribute.

“Yeah, we saw that,” the video caption read. ” Don’t worry. We got you.”

Seated on a sparkling purple chair, Madonna performed “Nothing Compares 2 U” with a string quartet while pictures of tombstone epitaphs and Prince’s live shows played behind her.

The show then ended with the surprise appearance of Stevie Wonder joining Madonna on stage to lead the sold-out crowd at the T-Mobile Arena in singing “Purple Rain.”

But many Prince fans bristled at her performance. Madonna swiftly responded to the backlash, writing, “Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to. Whatever your age Gender or skin Color.”

See some of the backlash tweets below, as well as Questlove’s tweets.

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