If I Were To Allow a Prince Tribute

Until I saw D’Angelo’s stunning tribute to Prince on Jimmy Fallon, I was opposed to the notion of planned tributes[1] to Prince. At best, who could possibly capture without caricature the unparalleled genius and essence of The Purple One? And at worst – the mind just despairs at the thought of made-for-TV-award-show spectacles abominations with popular yet plebeian pop peasants trivializing His Princeness. A contrived let’s-get-some-big-names mash-up of the latest pop ingenue (i.e. Demi Lovato or Arianna Grande), pop idol (i.e. Bruno Mars), popular-black-guy-because-we-have-to-have-one (i.e. Usher, Pharrell or Neyo), token-country-guy-to-prove-how-universal-Prince-was (i.e. Keith Urban or Blake Shelton) – OK, I need to stop before I hurt myself.

But I do understand the collective psyche’s need for remembrance, healing, and closure, and D’Angelo showed that such a thing is possible with the honor, dignity and emotional tone worthy of Prince. With that in mind, here is who I would allow to be part of an organized Prince tribute performance.

Executive Producer – Me. What else would honor the spirit of Prince than doing what you want the way you want it independent of the masses or other powers that be? I am in charge of this, period, and will ignore all questions. Yes, I will delegate and empower freely (see Musical Director, below) but I want all decisions on a planned Prince tribute to be approved by me[2].

Musical Director – Questlove. His extensive knowledge of Prince and his own musical gifts make him uniquely qualified.

Not to Perform – D’Angelo. What he already did was utterly perfect. To do it again would trivial that perfection. We can always watch it again on YouTube. And because of that performance, we don’t need another piano balladeer (sorry, John Legend). I want to party like it’s 1999, anyway.

The O.G. – Shiela E. Prince had LOTS of girls but the one who always stood apart is Sheila E.

Wendy and Lisa. Because they’re Wendy and Lisa.

Other Prince Girls – Janelle Monae to solo on Housequake; Liv Warfield, Lianne La Havas and Judith Hill singing When Doves Cry.

Lenny Kravitz – other than D’Angelo, no other artist subconsciously or consciously wanted to be Prince as much as Lenny. I think he should do Let’s Go Crazy.

The thought of Janelle Monae slaying the house with Housequake or a Let’s Go Crazy party with Lenny almost makes me want this imaginary tribute to happen. I’d add some other songs, too, but these are the people I want.

However, I think the best tribute of all is to just show the Purple Rain scene from the movie. Right after a commercial break. No introduction. Just roll tape. Entire live audience and TV audience stops breathing and begins watching in awed reverential silence. And then singing on the second chorus once we all start breathing again. And then singing the woo-whoo-whoo-whoos through collective tears and gospel hands waving until the end. And standing ovation while everybody openly weeps.

Who or what tribute – aside from D’Angelo’s exquisite perfection of Sometimes It Snows In April – could equal that? NOTHING!!!


[1] I am totally in favor of touring artists respectfully adding their own tributes to their sets. I’ve already wept through two of them.

[2] It would be unthinkable, however, to use this unilateral power without consulting with My Girl Wanda Pease, whose love and knowledge of Prince is its own force of nature that needs to be honored and respected.

Explore posts in the same categories: Mindless Rant or Intelligent Commentary

One Comment on “If I Were To Allow a Prince Tribute”

  1. Valerie Says:

    I’d watch your tribute show! But nothing will ever again be Prince. The talent. The presence. The genius. He is missed in so many way. The musical world owes much to him.

    Always a fan!

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