Madonna managed to make the Prince tribute all about Madonna after all

Maybe I was reading the wrong sites yesterday, but I really don’t think the reaction to Madonna’s Prince tribute at the Billboard Music Awards was that bad? The worst reactions to Madonna’s tribute seemed to be general ambivalence to “thank God she didn’t screw that up completely.” I even wrote that she seemed to treat Prince’s songs with respect, and she didn’t make it all about The Madonna Show, also known as The Sad Clown Act.

But some people were offended, because reasons. Tamron Hall went on the Today Show to say that she didn’t care for Madonna’s tribute, but I actually thought Tamron was trying to be fair, and she acknowledged that she was too close to Prince to make an objective judgment on the tribute. I honestly think Madonna might just be the convenient punching bag for some people who are still broken up about Prince’s death. So, there was some criticism and shade. So Madonna then had an opening to make it all about Madonna. First, she Instagrammed a photo of herself with the message “deal with it.” Then this:

“Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to. Whatever your age Gender or skin Color. If you loved him and he inspired you then show it.” Which is a good message. Then she posted a GIF/video with the message: “This is my ‘I’m not your bitch don’t hang your sh-t on me’ Dance” which you can see here. So even when we’re praising her for not screwing up, she still goes looking for controversy so she can make it all about herself. Got it.

Photos courtesy of Getty, Instagram.

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81 Responses to “Madonna managed to make the Prince tribute all about Madonna after all”

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  1. Pinky says:

    I like BET’s ad of shade about the tribute. As far as ads go? It’s brilliant.


    • Denisemich says:

      Was Prince ever on BET?

      Everyone thinks they own this man’s legacy;It is so trashy and sad.

      At least Madonna and Stevie Wonder knew Prince. I doubt whoever BET tags to do the tribute will have even met him..

      Finally, Madonna is right. All these people are putting there crap on her to be everything with this tribute. She shouldn’t do it cuz she wasn’t black, she shouldn’t do it because she doesn’t have the right voice, she shouldn’t do it cuz she is outdated. But at the end of the day it happened. She was the first one to do it and now they have to deal with it.

      • Pinky says:

        I truly don’t care who performed a tribute, or why, or how well they did. I just appreciate good shade,


      • GingerCrunch says:

        Denisemich, run, don’t walk over to YouTube and check out the plethora of Prince clips noting where and with whom he performed the last four decades. I think BET is a very appropriate place for a tribute and I’m sure they’ll be able to choose from hundreds of musicians who worked with him, famous or not. And hopefully none of them will show up in a trite, purple paisley suit with lace.

      • Colette says:

        I’m going to be nice this morning.Yes Prince was on BET several times.BET gave him a lovely tribute with Alicia Keyes,Patti Labelle and others a few years ago.

      • Almondjoy says:

        Do you watch the BET awards? 🤔 I’m guessing no… He’s been on there plenty of times and given awards and tributes. Why are you assuming that those who are chosen to honor him this time around won’t know him?

      • terese says:

        he was…

      • Denisemich says:

        @Almondjoy et al,
        BET is owned by VIACOM aka MTV/NIK. I haven’t been into their programming since the takeover. Having said that ….

        I am offended that MTV and Viacom who wouldn’t put black videos on for years and then still doesn’t really honor us on the main channel, think I should fight for a Prince tribute there.

        Don’t get it twisted… its never about what you think it is.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Information readilly available on Google, YouTube…pretty much everywhere, although I do always love a comment that assumes something incorrect in order to make a point.

    • RandomGirl says:

      What did the ad say?

      • Pinky says:

        It is an image of Prince in a purple rain. It says “Yeah we saw it. Don’t worry. We got you.” It seemed like it was in response to a lot of tweets wherein the people thought the performance was sub par.


      • Luxe says:

        Yeah, I have to agree Pinky. That’s some good shade.

    • Jenna says:

      I thought their tweet was beyond tacky. Madonna is the last one standing of those true legends of the 1980’s, worked with Prince (not only on a duet, but he did the opening guitar shred on Like a Prayer) and has long spoken of her respect and admiration for him. I don’t get what was so wrong about her doing a tribute, unless you think a white woman shouldn’t be responsible for it, no matter who they are. When… ugh. I can’t with that. It’s race-baiting and pointless.

      • Pinky says:

        You’re the one who went to race and used a problematic term like “race-baiting.” You might want to think about that.


      • Colette says:

        According to Rolling Stone Prince and Madonna had a feud that lasted two decades.She referred to him as a troll during that period so stop acting like they were BFFs.Granted the feud ended in 2011 and they were friendly this year.People don’t think a white woman can’t do a tribute we want a person who can sing.Madonna is a mediocre singer.I would have preferred Celine to Madonna.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Claims race baiting, finds a way to make the white person the victim. Hit all the quotas for today huh?

        Madonna shouldn’t have done the tribute for the same reason Gaga shouldn’t have done Bowie’s. Giving. An egomaniac a little bit of spotlight in an effort to honor someone’s death always ends up like – this – .

      • Emma - The JP Lover says:

        @Jenna, who wrote: “I thought their tweet was beyond tacky. Madonna is the last one standing of those true legends of the 1980′s, worked with Prince (not only on a duet, but he did the opening guitar shred on Like a Prayer) and has long spoken of her respect and admiration for him.”

        Madonna is ‘not’ the last true legend standing from the 1980’s. Have you forgotten Janet Jackson? What about Bruce Springsteen, Lionel Richie, Phil Collins, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Chaka Khan, Gloria Estefan, Peter Gabriel, George Michael, Linda Ronstadt, Paul Simon, Elton John, and of course, Cher (who was ‘very’ big in the 1980’s)? All of these artists are ‘true legends’ and could still fill an auditorium today. Most of them probably also knew and worked with Prince and ANY of them would have been a better choice to do a tribute to Prince than Madonna. Why? Because each and everyone of the artists I’ve listed (and a few I know I’ve forgotten) have the talent and singing chops to have done justice to a Prince tribute. This isn’t a ‘Race’ thing for me … it’s a ‘Talent’ thing.

      • FingerBinger says:

        @Jenna +1 Race has unnecessarily been added to this.

      • Emma - The JP Lover says:

        @The Eternal Side-Eye, who wrote: “Madonna shouldn’t have done the tribute for the same reason Gaga shouldn’t have done Bowie’s. Giving. An egomaniac a little bit of spotlight in an effort to honor someone’s death always ends up like – this – .”

        Yes! This … SO this.

      • Shannon says:

        I agree. It is tacky, and I don’t generally use race-baiting, but that was imo. It seemed to be implying a white woman couldn’t honor Prince even though she was his contemporary, and they’d collaborated together. I didn’t have a problem with the tribute, I imagine he would have appreciated it *and* any other tributes, because it seems he was a kind man – though clearly I didn’t know him personally. I can understand Madonna’s hurt a defiance in this situation. I’m guessing she really put her heart into this.

      • Jenna says:

        Yikes, didn’t anticipate any of this. I didn’t intend to “make the white person a victim” at all. But when BET says stuff like “yeah, we saw that — we got you”, it implies that the white lady has no right to do stuff. And I saw a whole ton of tweets that brought that up that beforehand, asking why a white woman was doing the tribute. When I felt like Madonna’s presence was justified. BET was speaking to black Twitter with that, and I thought it was unhelpful and non-constructive to anything.

        When she’s Madonna, she had a relationship with him, and she’s as big of an icon as he was. And it’s so basic to talk about Madonna in that way anyway. Like it’s generic and predictable and once again completely insulting to what an enormous legacy she has. And my god she has talent. Nobody can sustain a career like hers without talent. It’s beyond silly to say that.

        And by legends, I meant the big four. Michael, Prince, Whitney and Madonna. All four had relevancy and success long past their 1980’s prime, which I don’t think is the case with the other ones you mentioned. And they were HUGE, like in terms of radically shifting pop culture. I don’t think you can compare any of those four to someone like Chaka Khan or Peter Gabriel, who I both love but pfft.

        Finally, I really dug the tribute. It was classy, respectful, and she didn’t make it about herself. Something I was worried about because of her infamous “me-me-me” Michael Jackson speech from his funeral.

        I also didn’t realise “race-baiting” was a “problematic” term. I figured it happens when you’re trying to introduce a race angle to a situation that doesn’t require it. The BET tweet was absolutely doing that, in my opinion. And before anybody slams me for that, white people “race-bait” FAR MORE than any other racial group. Just not, in my opinion, in this situation.

      • TheOtherSam says:

        @Colette and others: Madonna & Prince had a working friendship going back to their heyday in the 80s. Fellow pop icons and all. There was never really any ‘feud’; Prince was supposedly critical at times of her overt commercialism and lack of musicality (ie, she didn’t play, write arrange and produce like he did) but there was never any malice.

        They were friendly enough that she stopped by Paisley Park last fall after her Minneapolis tour stop along with some of her crew and partied with him for several hours:

      • Emma - The JP Lover says:

        @Jenna, who wrote: “But when BET says stuff like “yeah, we saw that — we got you”, it implies that the white lady has no right to do stuff. And I saw a whole ton of tweets that brought that up that beforehand, asking why a white woman was doing the tribute.”

        You ‘assumed’ BET’s shade was about Madonna’s race when it was all about the crappy performance … the talent. If Stevie Wonder or someone like Christina Aguilera or quite frankly ‘anyone’ with a voice of any race had done the tribute, you wouldn’t have the shade from BET and all points. I’m just saying.

    • Cynthia says:

      People just get offended about anything nowadays.

      • Petee says:

        Yes they do Cynthia and it is annoying.It doesn’t matter what it is.I myself thought the Prince tribute was underwhelming.It had nothing to do who performed it.It was PRINCE.I just expected more.

      • Gretchen says:

        It’s offensive because Prince didn’t like Madonna. There is a long list of artists who could and would have done better.

      • Anon33 says:

        Yeah, people tend to get offended when you make racist comments that you don’t even realize are racist due to privilege.

      • MC2 says:

        Cynthia- nowadays is not the only time people got offended about stuff. People have been getting offended about things since the dawn of existence…..But it was the people in power who used to get offended and they would just exert their power by creating wars, holocausts, classism, racism, sexism, etc. Now the people in a weaker position can speak their minds for the first time on interwebs, televisions, etc and suddenly “we are too sensitive!!!”

  2. SilkyMalice says:

    A photo of herself in an elevator with a bag saying ‘DEALER’ on it is pretty tacky, considering the circumstances of his death.

    • Heat says:

      No kidding. That was in the poorest taste.

    • anna says:

      it’s supposed to be tacky. and prince’s drugs came from the doctor. so as long as the bag doesn’t say “Madonna, M.D.”, it’s fine.

      • Jayna says:

        But he died in an elevator.

      • swak says:

        Just because the drugs come from a doctor, doesn’t mean that doctor isn’t his dealer. The dr. sounds like a dealer to me. Same for MJ’s doctor.

      • Colette says:

        What doctor? I haven’t seen any evidence that ONE doctor is responsible for his death.

    • Jenna says:

      Yeah, because I’m sure that was intentional. You’re looking for a conspiracy when there isn’t one.

      • Shannon says:

        Right. I’d say total grabbing at straws on that. The “elevator” was for effect – used all the time at these shows – and I honestly didn’t even notice the purse, but I SERIOUSLY doubt that was intentional. Perhaps they shouldn’t have even done a tribute because someone, somewhere, would have found something offensive about it smh. Hey, it’s a lot more than I’ll get when I die, or anyone I know. Why does everyone have to overthink it and look for bad intent where there was none? Why would they intentionally insult a man during his tribute?

      • MC2 says:

        It was absolutely 100% intentional. Look at her clothes, her pose, her everything in that picture. She is holding the bag to show the word “dealer” in all it’s glory. She wanted her purse to say dealer when she was talking about respecting someone who died of an overdose (assumed addiction). That is totally disrespectful and I had no problem with Madonna doing a tribute but she lost any positive vibes I had for her. She’s kind of the opposite side of the coin that Prince stood for. She really pushed it too far with this & showed her true colors (no pun intended but her true colors are that she’s a self centered, egotistical a-hole).

    • MC2 says:

      Thank you! I saw that and immediately noticed the bag. That was totally disrespectful & disgusting. If you think she didn’t notice then you are giving her WAY too many passes. She is holding the bag to show the word “dealer”. Or she is a complete idiot, which I doubt. She knows exactly what she is doing. Seriously- a man died from a drug overdose (doubt his last few years were great if he was an addict) and you show yourself with a purse glorifying dealers?!?! She now sucks even more in my book.

  3. GiGi says:

    Well, this is how Morris Day felt about it…

    • magnolia says:

      Morris nailed it!

      And Sheila E should’ve been doing it – not Madonna!

      • saras says:

        Right on Magnolia! Even Gagas tribute to Bowie had his band members. Plus the shade that was thrown at Sheila E earlier in the week about “relevancy” was a bad start. Tributes are best when involving the persons bandmates and friends. I think they tried salvaging it with Stevie.

    • GingerCrunch says:

      It’s been so great over there on his page.

    • JenniferJustice says:

      I’ve been waiting to hear from Prince’s friends and collaborators – the ones he got started and helped boost their career – Sheila E., Appelonia, Sheena Easton, the Steele’s Choir, Wendy and Lisa, Bria Valente, Taja Savelle, Larry Graham, Mayte Garcia, Doctor Fink, Morris Day, Dez Dickerson, Brownmark….and the list goes on.

      I want to see/hear these people honor Prince as they were his true brothers and sisters in music. They know his music, played his music with him, and vice-versa. Now THAT – I would watch! I would probably record it on the DVR and enjoy it for many years to come.

      I’m not unhappy with Madonna or anyone else paying tribute to Prince. I just want to hear a tribute from his partner musicians as well. Re Madonna, I doubt she could have pleased these people no matter what. Just like Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie. Nobody is ever going to do it like Prince because there will only ever be one Prince. I don’t want to rip on anyone who pays tribute to him.

      • FingerBinger says:

        Except for Sheila E and Wendy and Lisa are any of them still doing music? This is a list of 1 hit wonders except for Sheena Easton. That wasn’t a knock at Prince btw.

      • Almondjoy says:

        Jennifer Justice! We finally agree on something lol yessssss. Those are the same people I would like to hear from.

        Finger, just because they aren’t on your radar doesn’t mean they’ve stopped making music. Larry Graham is on tour as we speak… So is Sheena Easton most of the others Jen mentioned are active as well. It’s not always about whether somebody is a 1 hit wonder or a phenomenon. These people were close to Prince and special to him.

      • V4Real says:

        @Fingerbinder Lisa and Wendy was a vital part of Prince and The Revolution. They should definitely be a part of his tribute. Morris Day and The Time were not a one hit wonder. They were a very popular 80’s band. Larry Graham is still singing and he was not a one hit wonder either.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        Some may be one-hit wonders for their own albums but most of them played with Prince at some point, either with The Revolution or back in the 70’s. Many who started out in Prince’s band went on to become producers or other areas of the music industry. Prince kind of used The Revolution as a stepping stone for talented artists. They’d play with the Revolution for a while and then move on. Not one of them were successful for just one popular song. They are all successful, but many behind the scenes. They were a part of his life long after his work with them and they were a part of his music as he was a part of their music. They shaped eachother.

        P.S. Thanks Almond.

  4. anniefannie says:

    I thought it was kind of $hitty for Tameron to go public w/her disapproval ! I saw it live and Willie Giest was squirmy when she was discussing it. Up til that point I was impressed that Tameron had kept relatively quiet about her grief over Prince as she’s also very big on making things all about her.

    • MSat says:

      I agree with you. I like Tamron as a news person but she was friends with Prince for five minutes. Madonna knew Prince for 30 years.

      • Nebby says:

        I don’t think we can really judge their friendship by how long they knew each other.

      • Colette says:

        Madonna and Prince didn’t speak for twenty years from approximately 1991 to 2011 according to Rolling Stone.Tamron texted Prince almost daily and spoke to him often including a few days before his death.

      • meme says:

        Tamron spoke to Prince every single day for hours. I don’t know how many years she knew him but they were very close. He even wrote the theme songs for one of her shows.

      • V4Real says:

        Tamron was closer to Prince than Madonna was. It doesn’t matter if she only knew him for a year, he called her friend and they were close. On the other hand Madonna might have known Prince for years but they were not friends. Like some have mentioned they had a fallen out that lasted for over 20 years. What don’t you all get about that? They were not friends, they were not close, they didn’t talk.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      This is likely going to be his most publicized tribute, it deserves criticism and Tameryn was close enough to Prince that she wasn’t merely speaking from a reporter’s perspective.

  5. Tangueita says:

    She has been so pathetic lately – all this arguing and bickering on Instagram, being defensive. I feel like this is almost the worst thing about her decline as an artist formerly known as Madonna.

    • Jayna says:

      I agree 100 percent.

    • anna says:

      all the madonna-bashing is not fair. especially in the context of prince, who was no wallflower and all in all a difficult person. yesterday the majority of commenters on this site criticized madonna for not being as great an artist as prince and not worthy to do this tribute.
      it’s such a cliche: the man is a genius. the woman is an imposter. oh and she’s old.

      • Plewas says:

        Well….Prince was a genius.

      • Colette says:

        Nobody on here talked about her age.But I have no doubt she will accuse her critics of sexism or ageism.SMH

      • anna says:

        controversial opinion: prince was no genius.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        Prince was by all means a muscial genius. He changed pop music forever. He launched the careers of literally dozens of young musicians. I don’t think the problem with Madonna doing a tribute is because she is female or white. It’s because she had nothing in common with him other than both being famous in the 80s. Madonna made bubble gum pop music. Prince was an original. Madonna used controversy and shock value to gain relevancy. Prince relied on creating good music. Prince enjoyed his fame to some extent but he was never attention hungry. Madonna has always been starving for attention. There was never enough attention and that continues today.

        I’m not a fan of Madonna but I can admit she has a talent or she wouldn’t have had the following she’s had for almost three decades. The difference to me is that Madonna’s stardom was launched through MTV. Without MTV, Madonna would never have become hugely famous because much of her relevancy came from the shock value of her videos – nudity, teen pregnancy, interracial coupling, masterbations, etc. all of which was new to many of us, especially seeing it on T.V. Prince rose to stardom the old fashioned way and then made his own low-budget B/C movie that made the world go crazy. He followed no one. He blazed his own trail and then helped every talented person who asked for his help. That’s why The Revolution had such a revolving door of musicians. And when they wanted to break away and do their own thing, Prince supported them – both publicly and financially.

        If Madonna had a great back-up singer who wanted to launch their own career, Madge would not support them that way. She would see them as competition and be bitter that they bit the hand that fed them. Prince was only difficult when it came to others trying to control him and the music he put out there. He wasn’t anybody’s bitch. God love him!!!

  6. Palar says:

    Madonna has always done whatever to stir up controversy, since the 80s, so not sure why anyone is surprised.

    • Jayna says:

      Not true. Look back at when she had Lola and then put out the beautiful Ray of Light album. She was far from trying to stir up controversy during that period of her life. Her behavior in her 50s has been depressing because I really liked her for a lot of her 40s.

      But a lot of this dumping on her for the tribute seems unwarranted.

    • JenniferJustice says:

      Madonna only toned it down when her kids were young. Before that she was nothing but controversy. Dennis Rodman! Does anythiing more even need to be said?

  7. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    She’s such a bore.

    • mia girl says:

      I know. There was a time I would have never predicted we’d call Madonna a bore.
      And yet here we are…YAWN.

  8. CharlotteCharlotte says:

    Lori Petty threw Instagram shade at Madonna.

  9. willful ignorance says:

    Madonna for the first time is 100% correct.

    She has the right to defend herself against the tasteless critics she got.

    I’m sure she will go back to being a tacky as before.

  10. meme says:

    Gah, twitter turns a lot of people into blithering idiots. adults having twitter “wars” is insane to me.

    • Kitten says:

      I don’t get it either.

      But it seems people are more invested in Prince and his music since he passed away.

  11. mme says:

    Her comments were on response to BET’s shade. I think people are reaching too much here. You don’t like her tribute, go and do yours. I say this as a black person too. Even Bossip which is like the #1 urban site thought the shade on Madonna was uncalled for. Prince was a slightly difficult person when he was alive. He could throw shades for ages. He always shaded Michael Jackson and Madonna but I’m sure they were friends too. Let Madonna be.
    Remember Prince and Beyonce’s Grammy performance of 2005? They mashed up “Crazy in Love” and “Purple Rain” and shut down the Grammys. I would love to see Beyoncé do that alone. But I’m sure she still wouldn’t be black enough for some people either. Or maybe let’s just not do Prince’s tributes. Let’s let it go just like that

  12. PHAKSI says:

    Madonna shouldnt have done the tribute cos she can barely hold a tune, simple as that

  13. SusanneToo says:

    Quelle suprise!!

  14. terese says:

    I saw shade and I saw press say she did fine. Honestly, Madonna didn’t need to say anything. There was pressure for anyone who did this, starting with Linda Perry making it about popularity not about who’s the best for the job. So Madonna went in with a deficit. She was fine. But its still odd. The oddity of it is what i think baffles some and others who weren’t real Prince fans thought she did fine. But lets say you don’t put Whitney Houston to do a Madonna tribute, or Prince to do a Michael Jackson tribute. In each of their height… the best part about these artists is they stayed in their own lane and never overlapped, friendly and shady competition at best but never running over each other… the differences were Its about style and vocals and instrumentals. Some fans were frustrated about this… which I think had less to do with Madonna and more to do with Billboard snubbing Princes real band, or artists he’s long played with… thats the flaw. Both Prince and Madonna were huge artists in their own right, but in different categories. So blending this was weird.

    • NeNe'sWig says:

      @terese So well said!! I totally agree. I also feel like Madonna’s recent messiness with her son and ex-husband and her general behavior, at least for me, added to the pretty much instant dislike of her being chosen to do the tribute. So there was just a lot left to be desired.

  15. Annaloo. says:

    Cyndi lauper should have done it.

    “When U Were Mine” is still one of my favorite songs .

  16. vanessa says:

    I don’t see the huge problem with her performance. She’s not the best singer, but she was subdued and respectful enough. I thought the song choices were poor, but it was fine. Nothing like that atrocious Lady Gaga spectacle. Perhaps they should have used the talent trifecta – Apollonia, Sheena Easton, and Carmen Electra? Would that satisfy Prince’s fans?

  17. Quinn says:

    Almost any other artist has a hard time doing Prince’s music justice, in my opinion. I wish they could have just gotten Sheila E and Wendy, Lisa etc up there…they could have done their own spin on music they actually created WITH Prince.

    Madonna and Prince were total opposites when it came to dealing with the later years of their careers. Prince remained private, always helped other artists and used his amazing talents seemingly endlessly…Madonna just tried to hitch her wagon to any newbie that came along.

    They really just aren’t in the same league.

  18. Josefina says:

    Social media feuds are fine in middle school. Immature in high school. Ridiculous in college. There’s no words left to describe the adults who engage in that past that age.

  19. meg says:

    producers admitted she called them and insisted on doing the tribute from the get go, she saw this as an opportunity to make a headline-low and sad. she’s pathetic

  20. LAK says:

    I love that video.