April 21, 2016 the world bid adieu to one of the most musically gifted beings to ever grace the planet Prince Rogers Nelson, known simply as Prince. He was found unresponsive that afternoon when local police received a call that someone at his estate had collapsed.
Details on how exactly he died are not entirely known as of yet. This has been devastating news indeed as millions of people worldwide are now stuck to wonder what could have cut the life short of such a colossal figure (even though he was only 5’2). As the world mourns, and as the gatekeepers in the media try to frame his death as another cliché story of a talented musician who died from drugs, I’d like to discuss the man who was royal by name and royal in character, Prince.
What comes to mind when you hear his name? Is it his androgynous style? Or the countless supermodels he kept in his presence? Or how he seemed to have God-like abilities when it came to music? I mean the man did play 27 musical instruments.
I first heard of Prince after watching Dave Chappelle’s famous skit where he portrayed the superstar in one of “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” (I was born in the 90’s don’t judge), and I can remember thinking “that guy is a knock off Michael Jackson. ” I couldn’t see why he was this legendary figure my parents made him out to be.
Ignorance and immaturity I’m sure of it now.
It wasn’t until I got older I was able to appreciate the musical genius that is Prince. He was someone who created on his own terms because his passion for sound was greater than that of money. He wasn’t a fool though, he knew how to play the game better than anyone in the music industry and wasn’t afraid to fight the big record labels that have raped so many of our great artist of their riches and legacies.
He fought hard for what he created, the right to his own music. It is a right that is stripped from so many artist that it is now a normalcy. It took the courage of Prince to say enough and fight for total ownership and artistic control. He even went as far as to legally change his name to an (Ankh like) symbol so other people wouldn’t be able to make money off of the name he built and off of the art he made.
He was a shining example of what real musicianship should always be. Prince carried himself as king, rivaling the flamboyancy of one King Louis XIV, and mirroring the dignified stature of Haile Selassie.
He spoke sharply, never wasting a word on what wasn’t important. Most of all, he wasn’t afraid to be unapologetically Black. Not afraid to do right by his people and right by his fans. Again it wasn’t about the money. He used his voice and platform to bring forth some of the most iconic sounds and to shed light on the African American plight.
He loved his fans. We loved his music.
Rest in Power Prince.