The Billboard Awards is the first major music award show since the passing of Prince, on April 21, 2016. In memory of the iconic star, Madonna was tapped to do the only tribute to him at the award show premiering on Sunday.
Naturally —since he influenced a gamut of entertainers more closely linked to him— fans were confused and upset about the choice.
On CBS’s The Talk, the hosts brought up the subject and discussed why the decision was made. Guest host and rock singer, Linda Perry, had a lot to say regarding Billboard’s decision.
“So this Sunday, the Billboard Awards, Madonna is scheduled to be the only artist to pay tribute to Prince and there’s an uproar right now because there’s 5000 fans who signed a petition so they’re kinda upset by this,” Perry preludes the conversation as reported by PEOPLE.
Co-host Sheryl Underwood jumps in by naming Sheila E. as one of the artists she would like to see share the stage with Madonna, but Perry disagreed.
“In all fairness, Madonna was asked to do this and she was friends with Prince. But you also have to think about it’s really the Billboard Awards, they think about who is hot and popular,” she argued. “They’re not gonna call up Chaka Khan and re-put together The Time and Sheila E. because they’re not relevant right now.”
Yea, she went there.
Quickly and in the classiest manner, Sheila E. responded to the offensive statement with a video during a recent performance and statement on Facebook.
“On behalf of musicians, artists, creators, performers and anyone aspiring to be one of those, you are all relevant,” she says to the crowd. “It was exactly that type of attitude and comment —recently conveyed on a talk show by a misinformed guest— that Prince, Paisley Park and those who have been an extension of, continually fought, and still fight, against the creations and the creators, contrary to fleeting popularity or fame, is what breathes life into art. The lack of understanding, and myopic view of dollars over sense is what perpetuates the ignorance that continually works against the artist, and the industry.” Adding, “I am offended!”
She follows it up by playing a quick drum solo, showing the talent she still possesses.
Fact of the matter is, Linda Perry was bold to say something so incredibly disrespectful and in poor taste. Prince’s contemporaries, who were directly inspired by his work, are living legacies of the music icon.
We commend Sheila E. for standing up for herself and the other artists Prince fought for and, honestly, would probably want a tribute show from.