Tributes to Prince were a highlight of Sunday night’s BET Awards – with salutes by Maxwell, Jennifer Hudson, Janelle Monáe and longtime collaborator Sheila E. among the most riveting moments of the show.
But one scheduled performer was nowhere to be seen: D’Angelo.
The “Black Messiah” singer would have been a stellar addition to a night of virtuosic Purple One alms. He previously performed “Sometimes It Snows in April” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” after Prince’s death in April, and in 2012, he played a much-loved tribute at Carnegie Hall.
But as Sheila E pounded away and the show wound down, it was clear that something was amiss – D’Angelo was MIA.
Although D’Angelo had been highly billed since a June 7 announcement about the show’s Prince tributes, his name was missing from a June 23 update on the lineup.
Roots bandleader Questlove – who had performed earlier in the evening – responded to an inquiring fan’s tweet that a D’Angelo appearance was “not gonna happen.”
As of now, his absence remains a mystery. Representatives for BET and D’Angelo did not immediately return requests for comment.