Prince-mocking white guy Justin Timberlake to hold Paisley Park event

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Justin Timberlake and his close personal friend, Prince. Associated Press

Prince fans have a long memory.

Barely had the news broken on Saturday that Justin Timberlake was to host a listening party for his new album at Paisley Park during Super Bowl week than the purple faithful unloaded with furious rage on social media.

OK, time for a history lesson.

To be fair, Prince kinda started it. At a post-Emmys party in late 2006, Prince wisecracked, “For whoever is claiming they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!”—a reference, of course, to Timberlake’s then-current hit, “SexyBack.”

The following January, Timberlake was awarding Best Original Song at the Golden Globes. Prince won for “Song of the Heart” from Happy Feet, but he hadn’t yet arrived at the ceremony—he was apparently stuck in traffic. As Timberlake accepted on the winner’s behalf, he bent his knees and craned his neck up toward the microphone, making a joke of the famously un-tall Prince’s height.

Then, a month later, Timberlake sang a verse on the Timbaland song “Give It to Me” that seemed directed Prince-ward: “If se-sexy never left, then why's everybody on my shit-it-it?/ Don't hate on me just because you didn't come up with it.”

Timberlake has cited Prince as an inspiration through much of his career, and the beef, such as it was, fizzled out after that. JT even wrote an effusive tribute on Instagram after Prince’s death.

But this decade-old snit aside, there's something presumptuous about a white pop star premiering his new album in Prince’s home, as though to suggest that the late genius has posthumously bestowed his blessing. And, of course, a lot of folks are already miffed that Prince's estate has gone against his wishes and will be serving alcohol at Paisley Park during Super Bowl week. Surely a whooping horde of drunken Justin Timberlake fans is not the legacy Prince imagined for Paisley Park?

So far, Prince's spirit has not yet wreaked vengeance. But if they start letting people use cell phones inside Paisley Park, there's no telling what'll happen.


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