The finale of the 2016 Billboard Music Awards was dedicated to honoring the late, great Prince.
Before the performance section, Questlove came out wearing Prince’s iconic symbol on his lapel to deliver a moving speech about the Purple Paragon. “No matter what kind of music we make, no matter how long we’ve made it, no matter our race, our color, our creed, our sexual orientation, all of us live in the land of music,” he began. “And his departure from it was an earthquake.” He went on to talk about the legacy Prince left behind before calling for a moment of silence. “It can be a moment of silence here in the air, but inside of our heads, it should be anything but silence.”
As the lights in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena turned to purple, Madonna appeared on the stage. Wearing a shining purple patterned suit with white lace, Madge sat upon a throne of purple velvet in front of a giant purple screen. She performed an intimate rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U” accompanied by a small string section and two keyboardists. At the end of the song, Stevie Wonder walked out from side-stage to join Madonna in belting out “Purple Rain”. The crowd also joined in, singing along to the memorable chorus as they waved glowing purple wristbands in the air.
Watch Questlove’s touching speech below.