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Madonna, Questlove push back on critics of Prince tribute

Stevie Wonder and Madonna during their Prince tribute

Stevie Wonder and Madonna during their Prince tribute at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. Credit: Getty Images / Kevin Winter

Madonna responded Monday to criticism — including a jab by BET — over her performing the Billboard Music Awards’ tribute to Prince.

Though Rolling Stone called Sunday’s tribute — consisting of Madonna singing the Prince-penned “Nothing Compares 2 U” and Stevie Wonder joining her for “Purple Rain” — one of “the highlights of the show . . . moving, elegant,” many on social media disparaged it, and the cable network BET tweeted a promo for a Prince tribute at its own upcoming awards show, with the tagline, “Yeah, we saw that. Don’t worry. We got you.”

Madonna, 57, initially posted on Instagram: “Deal with It!” About six hours later she added, “Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to. Whatever your age Gender or skin Color. If you loved him and he inspired you then show it!!!! I love Prince 4 ever.”

She followed this with a GIF of herself dancing, captioned, “This is my ‘I’m not your [expletive] don’t hang your [expletive] on me’ Dance.”

The tribute did receive support from many quarters, including singer Celine Dion, who told Billboard afterward, “Madonna did an incredible job,” and comedian Margaret Cho, who tweeted, “Crying. Great tribute. Madonna and Stevie Wonder are beautiful.”

Producer-musician and “Tonight Show” musical director Questlove, who helped create the segment and introduced it onstage, also tweeted his feelings. “It’s hard to accept him no longer being here,” Questlove, 45, born Ahmir Thompson, wrote of Prince, “& in the upcoming award season for ’17 there will be a gang of tributes. Naturally there will be folded arms & shade thrown because the Purple Standard is hard boots to fill. . . . ”

He added more tweets that went on to say, “Now anger is in the air w[ith] who (in our eyes) is allowed to mourn & how they are allowed to mourn . . . So I know there is gonna be ALOT of ‘feel a certain ways’ about who you want to see do his music justice — but you gotta put that aside yall,” adding, “But the point is let’s not get ugly with playing the ‘Prince would and wouldn’t approve’ game.”

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