Many spectators expressed mixed feelings about Justin Timberlake’s “I Would Die 4 U” tribute to Prince at the 2018 Super Bowl Halftime Show on Sunday (Feb. 4). Some argue the “Purple Rain” singer would have been fine with the display, while others aren’t so sure. Paying tribute to a dead superstar is always tricky; in doing so, Timberlake reportedly had his eyes set on using a hologram but backed out last minute, Page Six, reports.
A close friend of Prince, Sheila E., reportedly had a conversation with JT about not using the hologram during the performance. The famed musician said via Twitter: “Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans . . . There is no hologram.”
Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans. I look 4wrd 2 seeing what I’m sure is going 2 be a spectacular halftime show. There is no hologram. 🙏🏽💋 pic.twitter.com/mhVXBfBa1B
— SheilaEdrummer (@SheilaEdrummer) February 4, 2018
During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she also mentioned that she didn’t agree with the hologram being used in any capacity because it went against Prince’s spiritual beliefs. “I just said no. I just felt that it was too soon,” she said. “The hologram was weird, and Prince did tell me [to] make sure nobody ever does a hologram [of him] . . . He thought it was very demonic and that’s his spiritual beliefs.”
Amid the hologram controversy, the two singers reportedly had past issues, which according to Billboard, played out in a lyrical spat of words, “with Prince dinging JT over his hit “SexyBack” with a quip about how sexy never left and Justin smacking back on “Give It To Me” with the line “Now if sexy never left, then why is everybody on my shit/ Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it,” writes Gil Kaufman.
Still, the late singer’s sister Tyka Nelson recently told TMZ that her brother wouldn’t have a problem with JT’s tribute. In fact, she said she was “pleasantly surprised” by the occurrence albeit the family not knowing that Prince would appear onstage in a video projection.
Following the performance, Prince’s estate issued a statement, writing: “Justin Timberlake, the NFL and the City of Minneapolis used the stadium and the city to give a beautiful hometown tribute to Prince. The two pieces of footage that appeared on the screens were licensed from the ‘Purple Rain’ movie and a vintage performance in Syracuse, NY.”
Fitting tribute to Minnesota legend, Prince, during Justin Timberlake’s halftime show pic.twitter.com/PydtxxDT0b
— Omar Ruiz (@OmarDRuiz) February 5, 2018