BET had the pressure put on them Sunday night as fans eagerly awaited the tribute to the late Prince. BET along with Questlove organized FOUR separate performances at Sunday night’s BET Awards and all of them were one for the books.
Dave Chappelle introduced the first tribute of the night that featured Erykah Badu, The Roots and Bilal. Badu opened with “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” from the Sign O’ time Times album. Her sultry voice with The Roots as her band was like laying on a bed of clouds with satin sheets. Bilal then came out and preformed “The Beautiful Ones” in a perfect falsetto, just one day after the anniversary of the Purple Rain soundtrack.
The second tribute featuring Stevie Wonder and Tori Kelly paid homage to the film and soundtrack to Purple Rain as they performed “Take Me With You.” After the duet, Wonder started playing a synthesizer machine, while Kelly started playing the guitar, then Jennifer Hudson took the building to church with her rendition of “Purple Rain.” Kirk Douglas of The Roots joined her center stage for the guitar/ vocal solo.
Maxwell is gearing up for the release of his forthcoming album, BlackSUMMERS’Night. He performed a single off the album called “Lake by the Ocean” and then transitioned into “Nothing Compares 2U.” The most amazing part was Maxwell updating the lyrics to honor the late singer:
“It’s been seven hours and 66 days since you took your music away.”
Janelle Monáe showed off her unique style with her performance of “Delirious,” and “Kiss.” During her performance of “Kiss” she paid homage to Prince’s 1991 MTV VMA performance by wearing pants that exposed her butt. She continued with a performance of “Pop Life” and “I Would Die 4 U.”
The final tribute of the night was done by the legendary Shelia E. By herself she led a 10 minute tribute that featured “Housequake,” “Erotic City,” “Let’s Work,” “U Got the Look” and “A Love Bizarre.” Then Shelia E. S stirred up old memories as she performed her Prince-written hit single, “The Glamorous Life.” After showing off her instrument skills with “Soul Salsa” Sheila E. P performed “America” and of course, “Baby I’m A Star.” She gave fans an amazing treat as she danced with Jerome Benton from The Time (A Prince-Affiliated group featuring lead singer Morris Day) and Prince’s ex-wife Mayte Garcia. Check out the performance below and leave us your thoughts.