After performing a medley of some of his biggest hits during the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday, February 4, Justin Timberlake honored the late Prince. He sang the Minnesota native’s 1984 hit “I Will Die 4 U” alongside a projected image of the singer, who passed away in 2016. The entire city of Minneapolis was also entirely lit up in purple.
While the performance was beautiful, multiple Prince fans were not happy that Timberlake, 37, decided to honor the eight-time Grammy winner with a hologram-like projection. The legendary singer spoke out about the use of holograms in 1998, revealing he never wanted one.
“That’s the most demonic thing imaginable. Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing … it really is demonic. And I am not a demon,” he told Guitar World. “Also, what they did with that Beatles song [‘Free As a Bird’], manipulating John Lennon’s voice to have him singing from across the grave … that’ll never happen to me. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.”
Prince’s former fiancée, friend and longtime collaborator Sheila E. tweeted that Prince told her not to ever let a hologram of him happen. She also tweeted on Saturday night that she’d spoke to Timberlake and he’d told her that a hologram was not going to be used.
Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans. I look 4wrd 2 seeing what I’m sure is going 2 be a spectacular halftime show. There is no hologram. 🙏🏽💋 pic.twitter.com/mhVXBfBa1B
— SheilaEdrummer (@SheilaEdrummer) February 4, 2018
Other fans of Prince pointed out that Timberlake once dissed the “Purple Rain” singer on a song in 2007. In 2006, Prince reportedly said, “For whoever is claiming they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left,” referencing Timberlake’s song, “Sexy Back.” The following year, Timberlake released “Give It to Me,” in which he sang, “We missed you on the charts last week. Damn, that’s right you wasn’t there. Now if sexy never left, then why is everybody on my s—t. Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it.”
Below are a few Twitter responses, including from actor Sinbad:
Okay punkass justin Timberlake. You was cool till you pulled that Prince bullshit. You dissed Prince on a track of yours and you dissed him onstage when you lowered the mic stand onstage when prince won an award. Later for ya ass
— Sinbad (@sinbadbad) February 5, 2018
I cannot wait for the ghost of Prince to ascend from on high and bitch slap JT’s trash ass. pic.twitter.com/akh3GS21Aw
— Justina Ireland-Dread Nation 4/3/18🧟♀️🧟♂️ (@justinaireland) February 5, 2018
The Prince tribute would’ve been cool… except Prince specifically said he didn’t want that, right? Even in death, Prince continues to be misunderstood.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) February 5, 2018
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) February 5, 2018
If you ever shared two words with #Prince.
Or heard him speak.
Or saw him play.
You’d understand in the base of your bones — them deciding to hologram him at the SB — would’ve busted his heart to pieces. pic.twitter.com/TqK76Yacqi
— Vic Mahoney (@VictoriaMahoney) February 5, 2018
However, not everyone disapproved. Here are some who were very excited about Timberlake’s performance:
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) February 5, 2018
Two words. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. Wow that was unreal. LEGEND. #SuperBowl
— Nick Jonas (@nickjonas) February 5, 2018
WOW @jtimberlake 😩♥️😍🎉 amazing
— Brielle Biermann (@BrielleZolciak) February 5, 2018
Tell Us: What did you think of Justin Timberlake’s Prince tribute?
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on Youtube!