When news anchor George Stephanopoulos broke into regular television programming to announce the death of Prince Rogers Nelson, time stopped for a few seconds. At least it felt like it did. I couldn’t quite understand what I was hearing at first. But, the fact that Stephanopoulos was the one spreading this horrible news meant that this was more than just a rumor. Prince was really gone.
Immediately, I reached out to two of my childhood friends who I’m still close to. I knew they would understand the pain I was feeling – the feeling as if a family member had just died. I was right. They did. During a three-way call we commiserated about this loss that had gutted us. For nearly an hour, there was talk of disbelief, the shedding of tears and even some much-needed laughter, all centering around the Prince memories we shared.
The rest of the world was, and still is, feeling this tremendous loss too. One of the first and best posts that I saw online about his Royal Badness came from Sharon King, of Sharon King Casting, who said, “We come into this world, and we leave…make a fucking difference while you’re here.” The quote got me thinking about the difference that Prince made.
PRINCE WILL FOREVER BE REMEMBERED FOR…
*The music. Prince is credited with being the musical genius to share the Minneapolis Sound (a mix of funk, punk and rock) with the world. His music is unique and recognizable, many times from the drop of the first note. His lyrics are clever, often shocking and some would even say profound. Through his songs he managed to make us dance, think and feel in a way that only Prince could.
*His outstanding stage presence. Anyone who had the pleasure of going to a Prince concert was sure to get his or her money’s worth for the price of the ticket. This man gave 110% to the crowds he entertained, sometimes performing for up to four hours straight – in high heels too! If you were one of the lucky ones to catch him in his prime, you got to see Prince jump from the tops of speakers, spin and do the splits, dance and slide across the stage and make love to it too (some of y’all know what I’m talking about).
Let’s not forget about the Super Bowl halftime show when Prince performed in a downpour and barely got a drop of rain on him. Who does that? Prince, that’s who.
*His style. Afros, perms and Afros, bare chest with tiny undies, thigh-high boots, ruffled blouses, purple trench coats, lace, tailored monochromatic suits with matching high heels, and of course those unforgettable booty-out pants. Enough said.
*His fight for what’s right. Back in the late 70s when Prince inked a deal with Warner Brothers Records, he didn’t plan on signing away the ownership of the original masters of his music, but he did. Some entertainers may have coward to a huge record company and just took the loss, but not Prince. After a long legal battle, that included a name change to “The Artist Formally Known As Prince,” The Purple One finally won the right to control his music catalogue. His experience changed the way artists negotiate recording deals today.
*His generosity. There are stories out there that exist about those who were blessed to have had Prince mentor them musically. Now lawyer and close friend Van Jones is letting the world know that Prince gave in other ways as well. Jones told CNN that Prince’s philanthropic side touched many without their knowledge. According to Jones, Prince spread his love and money across the nation and was a funder to the youth tech program Yes We Code, youth athletic programs, urban anti-violence initiatives, and home improvement programs.
Prince did indeed make a difference while he was here. I am grateful to have been able to watch Prince go from being a rebellious, talented teen to a respected musician and humanitarian who gained legendary status. The legends never really die, and neither will Prince.
One more thing. I can’t talk about Prince without mentioning my favorite songs.
I love “Purple Rain” just as much as anybody else, but the Prince songs that bring back the best memories and stir the most emotion in me, haven’t been getting enough radio time in my opinion. Here are some of my favorite Prince songs in no particular order.
*Do Me Baby
*If I Was Your Girlfriend
*I Want To Be Your Lover
*How Come You Don’t Call Me
*Soft & Wet
*Sign “O” The Times
*Nothing Compares To You
This list could go on for a while, but I’ll stop right here. Please share your favorite Prince songs with me. I’d love to know what they are.
Until next time…