D'Angelo Is Perfect For The BET Awards' Prince Tribute, Because He's Given One Of The Best Tributes Already
On Tuesday, BET announced some of the artists who will take the stage at the 2016 BET Awards to pay tribute to the late and great Prince Rogers Nelson during the ceremony on June 26. There are more to come, but so far Prince's ex-fiancée Shiela E., Janelle Monae, The Roots, and D'Angelo are slated to perform. And D'Angelo is sure to put on an epic and poignant show to honor the late icon, because he already delivered one of the most moving Prince tributes so far.
Prince passed away unexpectedly on April 21 at the age of 57, and not even a week after, D'Angelo took the stage on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon to honor him. He was joined on stage by Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum, who form the Prince tribute band Princess, to sing a tender, somber, and heartwrenching rendition of Prince's "Sometimes It Snows In April."
It was not flashy or opulent — just D'Angelo, Princess, a piano, and soft purple light — but rather a catharsis for mourning and for grief. D'Angelo's gorgeous piano and vocals were accompanied by equally beautiful harmonies from Princess, and during the last verse, the Black Messiah singer changed a lyric to: "I often dream of heaven, and I know that Prince is there." He had trouble getting through the next verse, but Princess picked up the vocals for him, and it felt like the perfect homage and message to the Purple One.
D'Angelo, celebrated as a soul music revolutionary and a close friend to Questlove from The Roots, has said that Prince is one of the first artists who ever inspired him when he heard the single "I Wanna Be Your Lover." In an interview with Red Bull Music Academy Daily in 2014, he talked about hearing Prince for the first time and being forever captivated:
I remember we had the album, and my brothers were just enamored by this guy. They told me, "He plays everything, he writes everything, he’s singing everything,” so I was hooked from then on. I learned how to play every song on that album, note for note, at five years old.
His most famous song, "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," was a tribute to Prince.
After the performance on The Tonight Show, Questlove took to Twitter to express his gratitude:
Questlove will be there with D'Angelo on June 26 to honor Prince, and hopefully, Princess will also make a surprise appearance. Prince received a BET Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, and this tribute will celebrate his incredible life.