Prince’s longtime collaborator and former fiancée Sheila E. has apologized to Justin Timberlake and the organizers of the Super Bowl half-time show for “causing a distraction” with her comments about Justin Timberlake’s reported plan to use a hologram of Prince during the performance.
In a Facebook Live video published in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Queen of Percussion, real name Sheila Escovedo, copped to her role in stoking “division and anger and anxiety” at “what should have been a time of joy and celebration of the life and the music of my dear friend Prince.”
The legendary drummer, who worked with Prince from 1978 and was the recipient of a famous on-stage proposal from the star during a rendition of “Purple Rain,” said, “I was part of that. I seriously want to apologize to all of you. I made a statement. I didn’t know what was going on but I made a statement and I truly want to apologize for any role I may have played in causing a distraction during one of our most cherished sports events, and any ill-will to the events organizers, or artists who gave their best in representing their talents and making this ‘Bold North’ Super Bowl… I apologize for any ill will. I just made a statement that took everyone on a another journey and that wasn’t the point.”
Escovedo seems to have been referring to the following tweet, which she sent early Sunday morning:
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, published Monday, the famed drummer doubled down on the comments, appearing to confirm that Timberlake had at least suggested using a hologram of Prince, saying: “I just said no. I just felt that it was too soon. 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.”
Page Six reports today that Timberlake was “100 percent ready to use a hologram” of Prince during his tribute to the purple pop king, however claims that he “backed out at the last minute” appear to be contradicted by the timing of Escovedo’s tweet, which was sent in the early hours of Sunday morning and suggests that a guarantee that the hologram idea would not be pursued had been agreed with Timberlake on Saturday night.
Timberlake told Jimmy Fallon, on a live taping of The Tonight Show directly after the Super Bowl: “It’s a moment for me, if I’m being quite honest, because he’s always been the pinnacle of musicianship for me… And when we decided that [we were going to do a tribute], like the serendipity and the synergy that we would be Minneapolis, and that he’s such a special thing here aside from what he is all over the world.”