D'Angelo a no-show at BET Awards Prince tribute

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Sheila E., Jennifer Hudson, Janelle Monae and More Stars Honor Prince at 2016 BET Awards


In the weeks leading up to the BET Awards, just one Prince tribute was advertised: D'Angelo and Sheila E. performing with the Roots. It was a perfect combination: Prince's longtime collaborator Sheila along with possibly the two biggest fans and successors of his legacy, both of whom had not only covered his songs but also performed with him at an after-show in 1997.

Ultimately, several tributes took place during the show -- featuring Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Maxwell and others -- and Sheila gave a masterful performance in the finale, a lightning-fast 10-minute medley of multiple songs. Just one thing was missing: D'Angelo, who is a dazzling performer but can be skittish (as one might expect from an artist who took 14 years to complete his third album).

BET Awards Pay Tribute to Prince With The Roots, Stevie Wonder, Maxwell, Erykah Badu, Sheila E. & More

It's not that he didn't have the goods: in 2012, he tore the roof off of Carnegie Hall during a Prince tribute there. Backed by The Roots and ex-Prince band members Wendy and Susannah Melvoin and saxist Eric Leeds, he led the band through rousing versions of "It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night" and "1999."

Reps for the singer and BET had not responded to Billboard's requests for comment at press time. The only semi official word came from Questlove, who responded via Twitter to a fan's request to bring D'Angelo onstage by saying "Not gonna happen."

See photos of D'Angelo performing:

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BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: D'Angelo performs live for fans at the 2016 Byron Bay Bluesfest on March 24, 2016 in Byron Bay, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0458 -- Pictured: Musical guest D'Angelo performs on April 26, 2016 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 21: Recording artist D'Angelo performs at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on August 21, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 21: Recording artist D'Angelo performs at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on August 21, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 21: Recording artist D'Angelo performs at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on August 21, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 21: Recording artist D'Angelo performs at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on August 21, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 07: Musician D'Angelo performs at the Sutro Stage during day 1 of the 2015 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on August 7, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 21: Recording artist D'Angelo performs at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on August 21, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 07: Musician D'Angelo performs at the Sutro Stage during day 1 of the 2015 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on August 7, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 07: Musician D'Angelo performs at the Sutro Stage during day 1 of the 2015 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on August 7, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 14: D'Angelo performs onstage at The Tabernacle on June 14, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images,)
SILVER SPRING, MD - June 26, 2015 - D'Angelo performs at the Fillmore Silver Spring in Silver Spring, MD. He ended a 14-year hiatus in December 2014 by releasing his third studio album, Black Messiah. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 14: D'Angelo performs onstage at The Tabernacle on June 14, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images,)
MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 13: D'Angelo performs during on day 3 of the 2015 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 13, 2015 in Manchester, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring/WireImage)
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