Justin Timberlake is catching a lot of flak for using the late Prince’s image during his Super Bowl halftime show.
The singer projected footage of Prince on a sheet as he performed “I Would Die 4 U” along with the video, and as the late singer’s hometown of Minneapolis lit up in purple, Justin said, “Two fingers in the air for Prince tonight.”
This update comes days after rumours started swirling around that Prince’s hologram would make appearnace during the show, and this prompted a response from Prince’s ex, Sheila E., who criticized the move, and pointed out that Prince had objected to hologram performances. Sheila added later that she spoke with Justin who assured her that a hologram performance would not happen.
And while the hologram did not make an appearance, the image of the late singer projected during the show still upset many people, and this is because Prince had also rejected digital performances. In fact, he called it ‘demonic’.
“With digital editing, it is now possible to create a situation where you could jam with any artist from the past. Would you ever consider doing something like that?” Prince was asked during a 1998 interwiew on Guitar World.
And he replied, “Certainly not. That’s the most demonic thing imaginable. Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon. Also, what they did with that Beatles song [“Free As a Bird”], manipulating John Lennon‘s voice to have him singing from across the grave… that’ll never happen to me. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.”
Now, Justin Timberlake’s visual creator, Nick Whitehouse, says they only wanted to pay tribute to Prince.
“Paying tribute to Prince was something JT highlighted as an important moment for this show, and we spent quite a bit of time ensuring this moment would be true to his legacy. Ultimately, Justin decided that the only person who could do Prince justice is Prince, and we’re so proud to be part of his team who created this epic moment,” he said.
And what do Prince’s fans think of this? “I wish
#Prince had written a will. All of this could’ve been avoided,” one fan tweeted. “Honoring Prince is a good thing. Disrespecting his wishes and using his image anyway is damned disrespectful,” another fan said.
Watch the halftime show here: