Prince championed black female musicians throughout his career, and last night (June 26) at the BET Awards, his influence shone brightly in the women who paid tribute to his legacy. [Note: BET and MTV News are both owned by Viacom.]
Sheila E., who first met Prince in 1978 and performed in his backing band for years, stole the show last night with an eight-minute medley of his music. She started her performance behind the drum kit, but soon ventured out to play guitar, all while singing lead on songs like “Housequake” and “Baby I’m a Star."
Janelle Monáe also wowed with a seamless medley that included hits like “Kiss,” proving just how much Prince’s influence shows in her own wide-ranging and dynamic music.
Stevie Wonder and Tori Kelly teamed up to harmonize on “Take Me With U,” while Jennifer Hudson had the honor of doing “Purple Rain” justice. J Hud even walked out in one of Prince’s iconic outfits, rocking a version of the white hooded jumpsuit he wore at the 2005 People’s Choice Awards.
The BET Awards tributes weren’t just a mandatory nod to a late icon. They celebrated Prince with an all-out party that he would have absolutely loved.