BET Awards Prince Tribute

BET Awards' Prince Tribute: Watch Sheila E., Jennifer Hudson and More

Some of the biggest names in music assembled at Sunday’s BET Awards for a diverse series of moving tributes to Prince, two months after the music legend’s untimely death.

But before we break down the performances, here’s some important background info: On May 23, just one day after Madonna and Stevie Wonder honored Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, the BET Awards tweeted a promo for its own upcoming Prince tribute.

“Yeah, we saw that,” the photo read, implying a less-than-stellar review of Madge’s effort. “Don’t worry. We got you.” (For what it’s worth, TVLine readers also sneered at the Billboard tribute; 17 percent of voters gave it a big fat “F.”)

Rather than attempt to honor Prince’s memory with a single tribute, the BET Awards allotted for several performances throughout the night, beginning with Erykah Badu and the Roots’ rendition of “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker.” The team-up was introduced by an emotional Dave Chappelle, who rocked a purple pocket square in memory of his idol.

This was followed by a haunting performance of “The Beautiful Ones,” with Bilal taking control of the microphone. Bilal was literally on the floor by the end of the minute-long tribute:

The ceremony’s second hour featured an energetic duet of “Take Me With You,” courtesy of Stevie Wonder — who’s basically on a Prince appreciation tour at this point — and Tori Kelly:

Next, Jennifer Hudson took the stage for a powerful rendition of “Purple Rain,” inspiring a theater-wide sing-along of the iconic jam:

Maxwell kicked off the 10 o’clock hour with back-to-back performances of his own “Lake By the Ocean” and Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”:

Shortly before the clock struck 11 (eastern), Janelle Monáe sauntered onto the stage, dancing her way through a medley of Prince’s hits, including “Kiss”:

And the night of Prince tributes came to a close with a high-energy performance from Sheila E., which included — as expected — some killer drum work:

Do you think BET honored Prince better than Billboard? Vote for your favorite performance below, then drop a comment with your full review.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Tyanna says:

    Real musicians singing real music

  2. Brian says:

    Well done, BET.

  3. Sparky23 says:

    Sheila E was the best and it was very touching to see Mayte join her at the end. RIP Prince!!!

  4. Mary says:

    Shiela E Jennifer Hudson Bilal and all the artists brought all the Prince memories back to life. I cried watching these performances. There is only one Prince – way to go BET you nailed it-phenomenal performances that brought everyone to tears. Shiela we love you-you still got it girl!

  5. Regina Nichols-Lesane says:

    This yr was the best eva! The Vote xtremly HARD!!! BilaL…(Oh,my) Wea-I-L-L, he did that!!!; Jennifer gave us a Gospel version…Prince’s Purple, I still got the goosies; and, who could/ would NOT give the “Lady E” her Props? She’s earned them; showed us she’s still GOT-IT, but performed with Humbleness in her craft & honor/respect to her/Our Friend, Prince, R.I.P. What a True & LOVELY way how she closed the Awards, & us All to Wrap-UP-the nite! Gr8/XLNT Job “BET”!

  6. Well done bet Jennifer Hudson u bad baby u did it as we no Shelia did her thang but that Hudson girl u bad u go girl yass

  7. Bigdede says:

    Bilal was the truth! I’m upset D’Angelo didn’t perform as advertised and that Morris Day didn’t show up. Sheila E was perfection and it was good to see Jerome and Mayte. I did want to see Prince band The Next Generation. I wanted to hear Diamonds and Pearls. Thought Sheena Easton was going to pop up to sing You got the lock. Erykah Badu was terrible. Stevie was out of breathe and off beat but Tori saved it. Maxwell sounded good and Janea was good.

  8. Elizabeth McQuitter says:

    Performances were great. I wanted to see more from Stevie, but he is great just being Stevie. Sheila E connected because she had the people who knew Prince best. Loved Maxwell!!! Loved Jennifer!! Loved Bilal …