Justin Timberlake Explains Why He Exhumed Prince's Likeness for His Little Super Bowl Thing

By many accounts, Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl Halftime Show was underwhelming, but according to Jimmy Fallon, it was “unbelievable” and “one of the best halftime performances of all time.” Okay, Jimmy.

Fallon had Timberlake on a special post-Super Bowl episode of his nightly gushfest and asked Timberlake about his controversial decision to use the image/music of Prince during his performance. Naturally, this was not framed by Fallon as controversial or even potentially so, but “beautiful.”

Said Timberlake:

It’s a moment for me if I’m being quite honest because he’s always been the pinnacle of musicianship for me. And when we decided that the serendipity and the synergy that would be in Minneapolis, and that he’s such a special thing here aside from what he is all over the world, I just felt like I wanted to do something for this city and something for him that would just be the ultimate homage to what I consider the G.O.A.T. of musicians.


After he said this and the audience cheered, the camera cut to the Roots’ bandleader Questlove, a noted Prince expert, who gave the thumbs up. That was all the validation Timberlake needed:

And also, I’m not gonna lie to you guys, because Questlove is the encyclopedia on music but also, like, the I feel like a gatekeeper on Prince so like if I got the thumbs up from Quest, I’m good.

Okay, Justin.

“It was dope,” said Quest. Okay, Quest.

When I pasted the first blockquote above into Slack, a slackbot displayed the following gif (“G.O.A.T.” I assume is what triggered it):


My thoughts exactly.

Some Pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.

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What a spineless little suck-up to put Questlove on the spot like that and then take anything he says as validation. Of course Questlove isn’t going to argue with him on the air. He is at work and he happens to work for the least combative talk show host in the history of talk shows. It is his job to be agreeable and personable. That’s just like when a barista can’t tell off a customer who is being inappropriate, or when someone working at Nordstrom can’t argue back with someone who says stupid bullshit like “Oh, our hotel in Cuba was five-star. Well, five-star Cuban, four-star American, har de har har,” (true story)—not if they want to keep their jobs.