The only thing offensive about Madonna’s tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards was the offense it triggered: Complaints, Twitter feuds erupting like purple spitballs, a petition to get her replaced! You’d think people were fighting over the proper structure to replace the World Trade Center. In our social media universe we often seem to take things as seriously.
You don’t have to like Madonna, like her tribute, like anything about her, to respect the BBMA‘s choice to have her perform. Never mind that it wasn’t the Grammy’s, the Oscars, the Nobel Peace Prize or whatever ceremonies that will be honoring Prince’s death. There will be many, forever, and it’s beside the point. The BET awards promo, right after the ceremony, with the tagline “Yeah, We Saw that. Don’t worry. We got you,” was shameful and an an insult to all involved, including Stevie Wonder.
Madonna, in case anyone’s forgotten, was the biggest female star of the 1980s and the most famous woman in the world. Prince was one of the biggest, along with Michael Jackson and a few others—Bono, Boy George, George Michael, Cyndi Lauper, Janet, Whitney. But the first three share something distinct: They didn’t just capitalize on the era; they defined it.
Jackson is gone too, and he and Madonna and Prince were born within a couple of months from each other, all in the Midwest. The three of them rose to incomprehensible heights and splashed across the MTV generation like thunder. They dazzled us, each differently, all exhilarating. They pushed boundaries we didn’t know existed, in song and on our TV screens, intertwining sex with love and androgyny and our own perceptions of masculine versus feminine. And like so few others from that time, their careers flourished long after the VJ’s died.
Madonna and Prince did a duet on her career-defining Like a Prayer album, appropriately titled “Love Song,” and if you’ve ever heard her discuss Prince, it’s clear she idolized him. Adored him like so many of his fans. It was more than appropriate to have Madonna do the tribute; it was an honor. Madonna is the Queen of Pop, by many accounts the most successful female recording artist of all time. Her peers are leaving us. For those of us who grew up under the umbrella of these giants, it’s been a heartbreaking time.
The performance was royalty honoring royalty, and to turn it into something else, something political, racist, is demeaning to the memory of Prince, his music and his legacy. Music, as Prince knew, transcended the trite. He worked with everyone, wrote for everyone, performed for everyone. It’s also discourteous to Madonna and disrespectful of her achievements and monumental career in the music world, once again.
Madonna performed a love song for Prince, and it wasn’t about who’s the most talented performer on Earth, or who’s the best (there are no “bests” in subjective mediums), or who can prove they’re the right person to honor a dead man. No one wins that prize. The best we can do is appreciate the gifts Prince left us and allow people to show their love and share their memories and keep his spirit alive. That’s what Madonna did on the BBMA‘s, and she did it simply, elegantly, and pure of heart.
Because, in their own words, “this is not a love song that I want to sing.”
Source : HuffingtonPost