Bilal on His Prince Tribute: 'I Kept Imagining Him Making a Terrible Face from Heaven'

Prince's impact on music and culture will never fade. Bilal proved that backstage at ESSENCE Festival as he gushed over Prince's "artistic R&B talent."

After incredible vocalist Bilal took part in BET’s Prince tribute during the 2016 BET Awards, anyone who tuned in was left in amazement due to the level of talent that hit the stage that evening. Now, almost two weeks after the grand presentation, fans of the legendary Prince and his artistry are still left with their mouths ajar from the spectacle of a performance Bilal delivered. 

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“I kept imagining him making a terrible face from heaven,” he said backstage at the 2016 ESSENCE Festival. “So, I think before I walked out on stage, I was like ‘Man. Prince, if I mess up, it came from an honest place. I just gave it my all.”

Providing onlookers with a small reach into the mind of a gifted and artistic R&B talent, Bilal’s delivered a humbled approach to an awesome and unforgettable tribute that sets the bar for many to follow. 

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Going on further to explain his thought process on why R&B is still important, the almost 20-year veteran passionately answered, “Because it’s ours. Rhythm and Blues is an American creation and is a black creation,” he preached. “I think one of things that happens with black culture is we tend to forget things after the last 10 years. Then, other cultures come about, take it, and then blow it up and then we sit around like, ‘They stole our stuff!’ But, we need to really be clear about what it is we represent and what we’re creating.” 

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If Bilal wasn’t on your list of artists who understands the importance of #MelaninMagic before, you may want to place him there now. 

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