BET Networks announced that Prince will be honored at the 2016 BET Awards on Sunday, June 26th, with a special live performance by Sheila E., The Roots, D’Angelo, Janelle Monae and others. Prince, who died in April at age 57, received the BET Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Since Prince’s untimely death, artists from Bruce Springsteen to Beyonce have sprinkled their live concerts with Prince tribute songs. In May, Madonna closed out the Billboard Awards with a Prince tribute that polarized Prince fans. The pop queen performed “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Purple Rain” with help from Questlove and a surprise appearance by Stevie Wonder.
Questlove, who helped produce the tribute, defended Madonna in a series of tweets, noting that those who took issue with the performance may still be grieving at the singer’s untimely death. “A lot of us are left feeling incomplete in the act of saying goodbye,” Questlove wrote. “It’s hard to accept him no longer being here … (an on the surface) face of health & invincible agelessness [succumb] to something so … friggin basic.”
In a not-so-subtle tweet after Madonna’s performance, BET mocked the pop star’s tribute, insinuating it was weak and brief. In a since-deleted video, the network ran a short teaser after Madonna’s performance, writing, “Yeah, we saw that. Don’t worry. We Got You.” Madonna fired back on Instagram “Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to. Whatever your age, gender or skin color. If you loved him and he inspired you then show it!!!! I love Prince 4 ever.”
BET also announced that Alicia Keys and Maxwell, among others, will perform at the awards show, set to take place at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater.