×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Justin Timberlake Slammed for Holding Listening Party at Prince’s Paisley Park Studios

During Prince’s lifetime, his Paisley Park was an active recording studio and rehearsal space, hosting sessions or tour prep for Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Madonna, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, R.E.M., Neil Young, Jeff Beck, and many others. Obviously the facility has taken on a different quality in the months since his death in April 2016, when fans gathered outside for days; it opened as a museum in October of last year dedicated to commemorating the artist’s nearly 40-year-long professional career.

Thus, the announcement last weekend of an American Express-sponsored listening session at the studio for Justin Timberlake’s new album, “Man of the Woods,” during Super Bowl week meant that the event sold out almost instantly, but was met with howls of outrage from Prince fans on social media.

“Who the f— is letting Timberlake do his album listening party at Paisley Park? Prince would have never consigned this,” Buttuh roared. “Justin Timberlake disrespected Prince with that weak diss track back in the day and now he’s allowed to perform inside Paisley Park? Disrespect all over again…SMH 😒,” said Dreaming in Purple. “Justin Timberlake being able to set FOOT in Paisley Park is some f—ery that should NEVER f—ing happen,” wrote Kromshrugulos Michael. “And it wouldn’t were Prince still here… You f—ers is tacky.”

Others took exception to the fact that alcohol will be served (Prince was a teetotaler and at some point forbid alcohol on the building’s grounds). “Justin Timberlake performing at Paisley Park for $80 a pop and selling liquor there during Super Bowl weekend is ridiculously disrespectful to Prince and his legacy,” wrote ReggieOnTheMove.

There are several positive tweets as well — one fan wrote “Justin Timberlake idolized Prince – and looked up to him and was deeply inspired by him. Prince is always in his own category musically ( nothing compares) and Prince would definitely want him to jam at Paisley and support music 🎶” — but the haters are much louder.

Interestingly, some of the deepest shade came from Keith Harris, music critic at Minneapolis’ City Pages, in an article Monday bearing the memorable headline: “Prince-mocking white guy Justin Timberlake to hold Paisley Park event.”

As Harris recounts, some of the outrage stems from a decade-plus-old back-and-forth between the two singers. At a post-Emmy Awards party in 2006, Prince referenced Timberlake’s hit “SexyBack” by saying, “For whoever is claiming they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!”

Weeks later, Timberlake presented the award for Best Original Song at the Golden Globes, which was won by Prince for “Song of the Heart” from the animated film “Happy Feet.” Prince was reportedly stuck in traffic, so Timberlake made fun of the artist’s 5’2” stature by bending his knees and lunging upward at the microphone. Shortly after, Timberlake released a verse on a song by his longtime producer Timbaland called “Give It to Me” that reads: “If sexy never left, then why’s everybody on my sh–?/ Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it.”

Reps for Timberlake, Paisley Park and American Express did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment.

RELATED CONTENT:

More Music

  • caroline diaz

    Interscope Records Appoints Caroline 'Baroline' Diaz Senior Director of A&R

    Caroline “Baroline” Diaz has joined Interscope Records as Senior Director of A&R. She arrives from Columbia Records and will report to Interscope Geffen A&M EVP of Urban Operations, Nicole Wyskoarko. Prior to Columbia, Diaz held a promotion position at Def Jam Recordings, where she worked national campaigns for such label artists as 2 Chainz and YG. Said [...]

  • woodstock 2019 fantasy lineup

    Fantasy Woodstock: A Part Reality, Part Dream Lineup for the 50th Anniversary Fest

    Following the announcement of Woodstock 50, which will be held on Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen, New York, fans immediately began coming up with their dream lineups for the 50th anniversary of the world’s most famous music festival. Michael Lang, the creator and producer of the original fest and its two follow-ups in 1994 and [...]

  • Michele Nadelman

    Warner Bros. Records Names Michele Nadelman CFO

    Michele Nadelman has joined Warner Bros. Records as Chief Financial Officer. She arrives following a 12-year run at Concord Music, where she also held the CFO title (of Recorded Music) as well as SVP of Finance for Concord Music Corporate, and will be based out of WBR’s Los Angeles offices and report to co-chairman and COO [...]

  • 'Fyre Fraud' and 'Fyre' Reviews: Behind

    TV Review: 'Fyre Fraud' and 'Fyre'

    It seems in retrospect unavoidable that the week of release for a highly-anticipated documentary about a scammer began with an attention-grabbing stunt. On Monday, in advance of the planned Friday drop of Netflix’s “Fyre,” Hulu executed a surprise release of its own “Fyre Fraud”; both films assay the failed 2017 gathering Fyre Festival, a would-be [...]

  • R Kelly protest

    Protesters Rally Outside Sony Music Headquarters, Demand the Company Drop R. Kelly

    Standing in the cold with megaphones outside of Sony Music’s New York headquarters, a group of activists delivered the company, parent of Kelly’s longtime label RCA, a petition signed by over 217,000 people demanding that the singer be dropped from the label. The rally comes less than a week after a plane carrying a banner [...]

  • major r&b grammy fox star recurring

    R&B Artist MAJOR. Lands Recurring Role on Fox's 'Star' (EXCLUSIVE)

    R&B artist MAJOR. is on “cloud three million” right now. His track “Honest” scored a 2019 Grammy nomination for best traditional R&B performance, and, as he tells Variety exclusively, he recently landed a recurring role on Fox’s “Star.” The singer-songwriter, born Major Johnson Finley, is currently shooting the musical drama in Atlanta, and will make his [...]

  • Lars Ulrich

    Lars Ulrich on Paying Tribute to Chris Cornell, and Metallica's New Beer

    Metallica’s Lars Ulrich has been in the music industry long enough to remember when bands teaming with corporate brands was detrimental to a group’s image. “Remember 20, 25 years ago when the Who got a corporate sponsor for their tour? People said, ‘Ooh, they sold out, they have a sponsor.'” How times have changed. Speaking [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content