The spirit of Prince is alive and well at the 2016 BET Awards. The night has so far been full of Prince tributes and rightfully so. Dave Chappelle began with a touching introduction rocking a purple pocket square in an ode to the late musician. Erykah Badu, The Roots, and Bilal then took to the stage at L.A.’s Microsoft Theater and performed a moving and emotional homage with Questlove keeping the beat. Badu and The Roots then proceeded to get it started with a stellar rendition of The Ballad of Dorothy Parker. Badu wore a beret reminiscent of her attire in the new video Maiysha (So Long) with Robert Glasper. Bilal followed with an energetic and unforgettable performance of The Beautiful Ones off the album Purple Rain and ended up on the floor as he sang, kicking his legs up in the air.
For the second round of Prince tributes Stevie Wonder blessed the stage donning a purple suit accompanied by Tori Kelly. They performed a duet of another track off Purple Rain, this time the groovy Take Me With U. The crowd was definitely feeling it and feeling good.
Jennifer Hudson, wearing a white hooded jacket, followed with a beautiful rendition of the Prince classic Purple Rain. Later on Maxwell sang Nothing Compares 2 U. And to top if off Janelle Monáe sang Delirious, I Would Die 4 U, Kiss and Pop Life and did it all wearing a recreation of Prince’s outfit from the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. You know, the all white one with the missing fabric on the backside.
Then Prince collaborator and Erotic Citizen Sheila E. closed out the night with a high energy, high fidelity medley that included “Glamorous Life” and a string of other classics, as well as bringing together members of the Purple Camp who haven’t shared a stage in years, up to and including Prince’s ex Mayte Garcia. So yeah, the spirit of Prince and his undeniable music was definitely alive and well at the 2016 BET Awards.
Watch the performances here and or hit play on Bilal, Erykah and The Roots to jump-start your Prince tribute experience, then click through the pages below to watch more individual performances: