Madonna’s ‘Billboard’ Music Awards 2016 Prince Tribute: BET, Twitter Throw Shade

Not to everyone’s taste! Madonna turned the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas purple on Sunday, May 22, when she paid tribute to the late musical legend Prince with a dramatic performance that included a surprise appearance from Stevie Wonder at the Billboard Music Awards.

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But while many fans were overwhelmed by the Material Girl’s rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U” and her show closer with Wonder, “Purple Rain,” there was a whole heap of shade being thrown in the Twitterverse, and BET was one of the first to react.

The choice to allow Madonna the honor of paying tribute to the musical great had already been questioned prior to the show’s airing. An online petition at was signed by more than 8,000 people, who claimed Prince was “more than worthy of a better choice as a main performer.”

And, sharing a teaser to their upcoming Prince tribute right after Madonna’s performance aired, the network stoked the fire of disapproval with their tweet: “Yeah, we saw that. Don’t worry. We Got You.”

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Questlove (who introduced Madonna to the stage for her tribute performance) took to Twitter right away to defend her. “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,” he wrote. “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 – succomb [sic] to something so… friggin basic,” he went on. 

“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 added. “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.”

Fans in the auditorium were evidently impressed by Madonna’s heartfelt performance, but it turned out that Questlove was right and, as anticipated, quite a number of viewers jumped on Twitter to express their disappointment. 

Madonna performs her Prince tribute at the 2016 ‘Billboard’ Music Awards.

Check out some reactions in the tweets below.

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