“All these non-singing, non-dancing, wish-I-had-me-some-clothes fools who tell me my albums suck. Why should I pay any attention to them?” Prince
Here’s the thing: if you’ve met me anytime after 1981, you KNOW that I love Prince. If we went to elementary, junior high, high school or college together, you know this fun fact about me. If we ever worked together, volunteered together, sat on a city bus next to each other, I have no doubt eluded to the fact that this man is my favorite man ever created. If we were in the Army together, I’m sure you have seen my photos of him taped in my locker (when stationed stateside) and framed on my makeshift dresser made of a cardboard box (when living in the desert in a tent). If we ever dated, you know how I feel about him, his music, his hair, his style. If you are my friend or family, no doubt you have been dragged along in the middle of the night to stand in line to buy concert tickets, albums (yes albums), or waited outside for a glimpse of him after a show. I’m sure at some time or another you have been coerced by me to stand in small, cramped, packed speakeasy venues until dawn waiting for an after show because I have convincingly pleaded my case that the after show is the REAL show. You have had to sing along for hours with me on road trips as I traveled this nation far and wide to see him perform. You knew not to call me on the phone “back in the day” on a Saturday morning because I would be flipping the TV back and forth feverishly between Soul Train and American Bandstand to see if he was a performing guest or if they just played one of his songs. If you know me, you have no doubt heard of my foolproof plan to win concert tickets from the radio station which has worked time and time again. You have probably called me more than once to tell me that he would be performing on Saturday Night Live, Solid Gold, Dance Fever, the American Music Awards, MTV, VH1, Soulbeat, the Grammy’s, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Arsenio Hall Show, Sinbad Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Larry King Live, The Tavis Smiley Show, and even the Superbowl, Sesame Street and New Girl. If you are a real close friend, you may have even been with me when I attended the taping of many of those shows when Prince was a guest. If you knew me back in 1984, you may have gone with me to see Purple Rain at the Rockridge Movie Theatre one of the 32 times that I went to see it. If you lived in my neighborhood, you have heard the music blaring from my open windows all hours of the day and night, you may have even reported me to the police for noise violations (I forgive you). If you owned the corner stores in my ‘hood, Island Market and Fairfax Liquors, we have bickered back and forth many times about you not wanting me to flip through the latest issues of Right On!, Black Beat and Cream magazines looking for articles and pictures of Prince because you had a strict no-look-buy-first policy that I eventually convinced you was absolute nonsense because if I didn’t look, I wouldn’t know if I wanted to buy, silly shop owner. If you were my 8th grade English teacher at Montera Junior High School, Mrs. Harris, you convinced me to use my passion for all things Princely to write, write and write! You allowed me to turn in term paper after term paper on the fabulousness of this man’s music, clothes, lyrics, persona, allure and anything else that would encourage me to take pen to paper (thank you). If you were one of my many music teachers, you know that I secretly wanted to be him and admired his musicianship more than anything in this world. If you happened to work at a certain San Francisco Radio Station in the ’90’s when I arrived with my 4 year old son to pick up concert tickets that I won in a radio contest, you were told adamantly by my son to “Take down that poster of my Mommy’s Prince” because he believed that Prince was mine and mine alone. To say that this man has had an impact on my life would be such a gross mischaracterization that I will not even utter the words. He gave us his life through his art, his craft and we loved him for it. Did his music influence us or did we influence his music more? The truth is we are inextricably intertwined. In my prayers, I pray that he knew how loved and adored he truly was.
Tonight, in Los Angeles, musicians dedicated performances at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Music Awards to this man who changed music forever. Prince drew his inspiration from God (yep, I said God) and from the musicians that came before him. He created a platform for artists of all types to freely express themselves. No matter what you may think of his self expressive style, you can’t deny that this brother was a bad mofo.