Debra Lee

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

During last month’s Billboard Awards, BET dropped a little shade after Madonna honored Prince in what many considered a subpar tribute. Before the evening was over, the folks at BET assured upset fans their homage to the Purple One would be much, much better.

“Yeah, we saw that. Don't worry. We Got You,” the network tweeted back in May.



This weekend, BET hopes to make good on its promise to bring it during Sunday night’s BET Awards. Though they haven’t released all the details just yet, The Roots, Sheila E, Stevie Wonder, and Janelle Monae will all be part of the tribute.

But make no mistake about it; BET better live up to the hype it created, or Prince’s Purple Army will let them have it. BET Chairwoman and CEO Debra Lee knows fans take Prince's legacy very personally, and she told EBONY.com the network is feeling the heat.

“It’s a lot of pressure, but we’re up for the job,” she said. “I haven’t heard so many people excited about a tribute since Michael Jackson passed. People are excited to see a tribute to Prince that really reflects his importance to the music industry.”

While BET set the bar super high by sending a playful jab to the folks at Billboard, Lee said it didn't come from a mean place.

“We weren’t criticizing Madonna, we were just saying Prince needs a bigger tribute,” she explained.

In addition to the Prince appreciation, BET will also honor Muhammad Ali, as well as other legends who have passed this year, during the show. But the event won’t be a somber occasion. With performances by Usher, Maxwell, Alicia Keys, Future, and Bryson Tiller, folks should get ready to turn up.

“Unfortunately we’ve lost some huge people this year, but we’re going to celebrate music and have a good time as well,” Lee said. “The show is going to be really special this year. It’s going to be our biggest ever.”

For the first time in history, the BET Awards will be simulcast across 11 Viacom channels, including MTV and VH1. It will also air on Tuesday, June 28 across Africa and in the UK, and the show will hit the air in France on June 29th. With Twitter, no doubt, ready to discuss every single detail from the performances and presenters, to the fashion, Sunday will be huge for Lee and the network.

“We’re going to take over the world on Sunday," she said. 

From the looks of things, she might just be right. 


Britni Danielle is the Senior Digital Editor of Entertainment & Culture for EBONY.com and JETmag.com. Catch her tweeting @BritniDWrites.



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