Not everyone was pleased with Madonna’s tribute to Prince during Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards. Shortly after the performance, which paired Madonna and Stevie Wonder and was introduced by Questlove, the official Twitter account for the BET Awards posted a promo video mocking the BBMAs showcase.
“Yeah, we saw that,” read a chyron at the bottom of the teaser for the BET Awards’ own Prince tribute, which is set to happen next month. “Don’t worry. We got you.”
Writing on Twitter in the hour after the BET Awards tweet, Questlove defended the Madonna tribute to Prince — though without citing the BET Awards promo as an impetus for his comments.
“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. “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 mourning Prince are doing so in stages, and anger is winning out at the moment.
“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 wrote. “Every Prince rendition will not be a life changing orgasmic [experience]. 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.”
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In a later tweet, Questlove wrote that the comments were not “just about” Madonna and Wonder, but a larger conversation about who should control Prince’s legacy.
When a Twitter user said to him that the problem was people expected more from the Billboard Music Awards than Madonna, Questlove wrote, “Not knocking [BBMAs], but that ain’t no Grammys now.”
Read his full commentary below.