When Minneapolis Turned Purple


Photo credit to Lorie Shaull

Aubrey Anderson, Opinion Editor

For Super Bowl LII’s halftime show, Justin Timberlake decided to take some time to honor Minnesotan artist, Prince. Justin Timberlake has now been receiving some harsh criticisms for his tribute. As a Minnesotan resident and fan of Prince, I wanted to share my thoughts on the whole extravaganza.  

One major issue some Prince fans are having about the tribute is the fact that Prince made it clear before he died that he never wanted a hologram of himself created/used in any performance because he felt it was demonic. Therefore, when Justin Timberlake then proceeded to project a video of Prince singing “I Would Die 4 U,” some fans were not pleased. Some were even outraged. I also heard some people say that they thought it was a bad reflection on Timberlake that he would use Prince’s stardom in Minnesota to draw attention to the halftime show. Essentially, they felt like Timberlake’s material wasn’t good enough, so he had to mooch off of Prince.  

However, when I experienced the halftime show, both in person as well as seeing it on the news and YouTube, I had a completely different reaction. When I saw the projection of Prince, I was blown away and touched by the fact that Prince was being represented in his own state, at what I hope would’ve been his halftime show, had he still been alive. And to stand up for Timberlake, in an interview with Jimmy Fallon, right after the Super Bowl, Timberlake discussed how he was given both sound recordings and the uncut footage of Prince performing the song for the sake of the halftime show. Also, it is important to understand that there is a difference between a projection and a hologram. During the halftime show, the image of Prince was projected onto a curtain. There was no hologram, therefore, Prince’s wishes were respected. Prince was one of Timberlake’s idols and he simply wanted to honor Prince’s memory in the best way he could.  

In response to the second issue some audience members had about Timberlake mooching off of Prince’s fame, I strongly disagree. From my perspective, it would have been disappointing, even slightly offensive, if Timberlake would not have honored Prince in some manner. As I stated previously, Prince was a Minnesotan artist who is said to have influenced many of today’s artists. A large population of Minnesotan’s take pride in Prince and his music and were deeply saddened by his unexpected death in 2016. Timberlake’s tribute was not only thoughtful but also, in a way, personal. The projection of Prince helped the audience experience Prince in concert one last time, and also shared Prince’s symbol with the world when downtown Minneapolis glowed in a purple hue in the shape of Prince’s iconic “Love Symbol #2.” For me, this tribute brought tears to my eyes (as well as my family members’). Prince was able to be a part of his hometown’s Super Bowl halftime show and that is definitely a beautiful tribute.