In the wake of a mortified online reaction to a TMZ report that Justin Timberlake would incorporate a hologram of the late Prince into his Super Bowl Halftime performance in Minneapolis this evening, Sheila E. posted late Saturday that she’d spoken with Timberlake and “there is no hologram.”
“Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans,” she wrote. “I look 4wrd 2 seeing what I’m sure is going 2 be a spectacular halftime show. There is no hologram. ”
While it remains possible that Prince, a proud Twin Cities native, will be honored in some way during Timberlake’s performance, both the hologram and an appearance by Prince’s former band The Revolution — who performed at a Timberlake album-listening party held at Prince’s Paisley Park Studios on Friday night — can be ruled out: A source close to the situation told Variety on Saturday that The Revolution will not be appearing. Reps for Timberlake and the Prince estate declined or did not respond to Variety’s requests for comment.
Earlier on Saturday, Sheila — who was a close friend, collaborator and former fiancée of Prince’s, with a relationship going back to the late 1970s — added her voice to a horrified chorus of online fans in the wake of the TMZ report, which said earlier in the day that “we’re told Justin does have one pretty cool trick up his sleeve — a hologram to honor … wait for it … Prince, in his hometown.”
On Saturday afternoon, Sheila posted: “Prince told me don’t ever let anyone do a hologram of me. Not cool if this happens!”
Sheila, who comes from a distinguished family of percussionists, and Prince first met in the late 1970s. While they jammed together frequently, they did not collaborate on record until the 1984 hit “Erotic City,” which was the B-side of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” single but rapidly became an R&B hit on its own. Under his then-frequent pseudonym Jamie Starr, Prince helmed Sheila’s first solo album, “The Belle of St. Mark,” and brought her out as the opening act of the “Purple Rain” tour. She set aside her solo career in 1987 to play drums in his “Sign O’ the Times” and “Lovesexy”-era bands — she says the two became unofficially engaged during this time — and while she left the band amid some hard feelings in 1989, the two soon patched things up and performed together often over the coming decades.