Singer Justin Timberlake Clears the Air on Prince Controversy

February 5, 2018 Updated: February 5, 2018

Justin Timberlake sang one of Prince’s songs during his Super Bowl halftime show, but it’s creating a negative response from some fans.

Timberlake sang Prince’s “I would Die 4 U” while an image of the legendary singer was projected and lit up in purple behind him.

Prince, who was born in Minneapolis and died in April 2016 also performed at the Super Bowl’s half-time performance in 2007.

The controversy stems from rumors last week that Timberlake was considering using a hologram of Prince. In a 1998 interview Prince did with Guitar World magazine he said that using a hologram to represent a dead artist would be “the most demonic thing imaginable,” according to TIME.

The interview at the time went as followed, TMZ reported.

Guitar World: “With digital editing, it is now possible to create a situation where you could jam with any artist from the past. Would you ever consider doing something like that?”

Epoch Times Photo
Prince speaks onstage at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on March 4, 2011. Kevin CP Image Awards)

Prince: “Certainly not. 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. 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.”

While Timberlake did not end up using a hologram in his tribute to Prince performance, it still garnered criticism, especially from fans who remembered that Prince and Timberlake had a history of feuding.

As USA Today pointed out, Timberlake mocked Prince in public at the 2007 golden globes by taking a hit at the 5 foot 2 singer’s height. He also dedicated a whole verse to dissing Prince on his song “Give It To Me” later that same year.

Prince’s bandmate, Sheila E. said she spoke with Timberlake earlier about the tribute and said he “shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans.”

She said that there would be no hologram.

“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,” she tweeted on Feb. 3.

Timberlake also attempted to clear the controversy in his post-Super Bowl appearance on The Tonight Show. He said that he had asked Roots drummer Questlove, one of Prince’s friends, if the tribute would be appropriate.

“Questlove is the encyclopedia on music, but I also feel like a gatekeeper on Prince, so if I got the thumbs-up from Quest, I’m good,” he said, according to Vanity Fair. Questlove responded, “It was dope.”



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