BBMAs 2021: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis Celebrate Minneapolis With Sounds of Blackness at Prince's Paisley Park
By Mona Khalifeh
Stephen Maturen/BBMA2021/Getty Images for dcp
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis took fans back to Prince's Paisley Park alongside Sounds of Blackness and Ann Nesby at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards Sunday night. The duo introduced the group's moving performance of their iconic song, “Optimistic,” remotely from Minneapolis.
The performance kicked off with an epic tracking shot, showing some of the rooms, hallways and studios in Paisley Park, before Jam and Lewis introduced the performance from their hometown.
"[Minneapolis] is a place that musically has always represented change to the status quo, combining races, genders, uptown and downtown, to give the world harmonious grooves," Jam said. "Thanks to the people of this city, and other peaceful participants, Minneapolis is in the midst of changing the status quo yet again."
"Times change, because the power of the people makes it change," Lewis agreed. "Music is a powerful catalyst to this, and this next song expresses our perspective that faith is key to positive change."
This year marks the 30th anniversary of “Optimistic,” which still resonates to this day as an anthem for perseverance and strength during times of uncertainty and insecurity.
Alongside Prince, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the minds behind the Minneapolis Sound, brought back the movement which was first popularized in the 1980s and can be heard today in some of the top artists in the world including Bruno Mars and Lizzo.
The 2021 Billboard Music Awards, hosted by Nick Jonas, air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC. See more from this year's awards below.