Justin Timberlake Criticized for Prince Tribute at Super Bowl Halftime Show

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.

Recording artist Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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.

An image of the late US musician Prince is projected on a large screen as Justin Timberlake performs on stage during the Super Bowl LII halftime show at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota February 4, 2018. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

“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.

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:

However, not everyone disapproved. Here are some who were very excited about Timberlake’s performance:

Tell Us: What did you think of Justin Timberlake’s Prince tribute?

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