Categories: News

Bilal’s Prince Tribute Originally Wasn’t “The Beautiful Ones”

If you watched the 2016 BET Awards last night, chances are you’re still recovering from the Prince tribute, specifically Bilal‘s rendition of the Purple One’s “The Beautiful Ones.” The performance served as one of the main highlights from the annual televised event, as Bilal channeled his inner Prince and offered a show that embodied the unabashed energy and sexuality of the iconic musician.

However, in an interview with Billboard, the In Another Life singer-songwriter reveals that he wasn’t supposed to perform “The Beautiful Ones” at all. “Actually, I was supposed to do a whole other song until the day before the performance, when they changed it to ‘The Beautiful Ones,'” Bilal explains. “I was supposed to do ‘Do Me, Baby’; I don’t know [what happened]. But ‘The Beautiful Ones’ is my favorite song by Prince.”

With only a day to prepare the Philly artist took to Prince’s Purple Rain film for inspiration, emulating the musician’s memorable “The Beautiful Ones” scene. “At first it was kind of nerve-wracking, because at the soundcheck I was really messing up. I didn’t know where I was going to walk and it was kind of hectic,” Bilal said. “So at first I was a little, I wouldn’t say nervous, but anxious. Right before I went out there, I don’t know; I just got really calm, sleepy almost.”

What happened afterwards was a spellbinding performance that Prince surely wouldn’t have side-eyed. Accompanied by the Roots‘ guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas, Bilal let his falsetto ring throughout, ending the show on his back.

“Prince is just one of my favorite artists,” Bilal said. “So to be a part of this, it meant a lot to me as an artist, just because of how he inspired me.”

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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