What seemed like a relatively quiet day snuggled in between the 4 year anniversary of Prince‘s final Atlanta concerts and his death, the claws came flailing Freddie-Kreuger style towards Sheila Escovedo (aka Sheila E) via the hands of Apollonia Kotero (aka Apollonia), Prince‘s Purple Rain love interest that failed to purify herself in Lake Minnetonka.
The vitriol came via a Facebook post on Apollonia’s Facebook page that was the verbal equivalent of a soda can that has been shaken for decades and was finally opened. The vicious diatribe was apparently sparked by the release of Sheila E.’s new track called Lemon Cake that she released as an homage to Prince on April 17.
The song is about how he loved her “lemon cake” which is obviously a sexual innuendo as far as the song is concerned, but then the fireworks started when she was quoted in Billboard magazine, “One day I mentioned to him that I make a good chocolate and lemon cake,” recalls Sheila E. “His response was, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you cooked.’ I said, ‘Of course I do. My mom being Creole and my dad Mexican, I better know how to cook.’ The next day I baked a lemon cake. It was love at first sight and one of his favorite things that we would share in the studio.”
And then topped it off with an appearance on ABC News showing the staff how to make the beloved lemon cake.
The result was this post by Apollonia on her Facebook page.
The rage in the post seemed like a barrage of unfounded accusations but was soon supported by other Prince proteges Brenda Bennett (Vanity 6), Cat Glover (NPG), and Susannah Melvoin (The Family and past Prince love interest).
It caused an uproar because LeRoy Bennett was actually the creator of the lemon cake that Prince loved so dearly and that it was not made by Sheila E at all and claims that the story is fabricated. Could there have been two lemon cakes that he loved? There were plenty of Facebook comments validating that he definitely was the lemon cake creator that was supported by first-hand stories.
LeRoy Bennett is the owner of Seven Design Works in Santa Monica, CA which does a lot of touring management and according to Bennett, the song was a direct swipe at him because he was responsible for pushing for The Revolution to perform at Let’s Go Crazy: A Grammy Salute to Prince in Los Angeles instead of Sheila E. which is set to air April 21 on CBS.
But the Lemon Cake fiasco is only the tip of the iceberg if we’re to believe Apollonia‘s wild swinging post, which makes multiple accusations;
- Accusation: Sheila E participated in a Purple Rain cruise in 2016 that was being done for charity and she recruited Apollonia to help her raise money that was supposed to go to a music school and she pocketed all of the money.
- Accusation: Sheila E was selling merchandise with Prince‘s logo at her shows.
Status: This is confirmed. We have one. It features Prince‘s logo and a butterfly on the top.
- Accusation: Prince blocked Sheila E out of his life the entire last 5 years of his life due to her constant lies.
- Accusation: Sheila E‘s bio The Beat of My Own Drum is full of falsehoods and lies and Prince served her with legal papers for slander.
Status: Unconfirmed, but Apollonia claims to have the documents in her possession that she’ll reveal in her memoir.
- Accusation: Sheila E told some members of The Revolution that she knew how Prince died, but refused to tell them.
- Accusation: Prince scolded Apollonia for getting involved with Sheila E because he knew that she was not legitimately raising money for a charity like she said she was.
- Accusation: Prince did not propose to Sheila on stage during a Lovesexy concert and that story was made up by Sheila.
Status: Unknown, but Cat Glover was a part of that tour and she seems to be siding with Apollonia on everything.
But let’s take a moment:
All of this being said, Sheila E is a true part of the Prince legacy without a doubt. Despite all of the claims of people saying that she is “cashing in” on his legacy, there is not one band or performer that came out of Prince‘s shadows that is not doing the exact same thing. As long as the ticketholders demand to hear the remnants of his legacy through the musicians that shared the stage with him, this will always be a factor. And isn’t Apollonia trying to sell a memoir whose very foundation is…Prince?
Lest we forget, The Revolution announced a tour within a week of his passing and they are only performing Prince‘s songs. Sheila E has a good selection of his songs because that’s what the audience wants, but she also performs a huge selection of her own material.
Whatever the truth may be, Sheila Escovedo is a successful artist who had a solid career before Prince and her family is legendary. She had already been playing with Lionel Richie, George Duke, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, Diana Ross and tons more. Prince followed her career and came and got her. Not the other way around.
Additionally, Apollonia is about to release her “memoirs” of her time with Prince, which was very short. Sheila E played with Prince for over 30 years. This type of drama sells books. Can anyone truly tell us where Apollonia has been the past 30 years without researching it?
All of that being said, let’s be really careful about this dirty foul path we seem to be sprinting down here. Apollonia‘s mean spirited Facebook post has got a lot of people fired up, but there are two sides to every story and no one reading this knows all of the answers or the complete truth.
We’re not taking sides, but it’s difficult for any of these current players to claim that others are cashing in on Prince‘s legacy without having to first step in front of the mirror since they have not been successful outside of that history, Sorry. That’s kind of the reality here.
Where do you stand?