Okay so, I did not know the man personally, but from back in the days of 1979 we would be forever connected. His first album in 1978 went under my radar, but after I Wanna Be Your Lover”, with the self titled album name and the picture of a fine ass dude with pressed out hair and flips, and let me not forget the lips; I WAS IN LOVE. Mind you, I was in middle school, but made it my mission to hear everything the man put out. Albums, 45s, it did not matter. Then when I got my portable cassette player, it was on!
Prince’s music was raw, gritty and nasty. It was all those things your parents warned you to stay away from, yet embrace because it was real funk and soul mixed with pop. Anytime he was on TV, I was glued. No need to call my house phone to tell me to turn on whatever channel, honey, I was already there. My crush was huge! The love grew stronger in 1982, at ISU, when Prince and The Time appeared in concert. I went with my best friend. We thought we were grown. We relived that night for months and months.
The love fest continued. In June of 1984, I know it was going to be a great summer. I graduated high school, was set to attend Northern Illinois University, I bought my first brand new car and Purple Rain was set hit the stores. LIFE WAS GOOD! Then it even got better with the anticipation of the movie, which I think is perhaps tied with Valley of the Dolls for movies I have seen the most times.
Purple Rain, the movie is a musical, drama, comedy...”that’s not Lake Minnetonka”; ha. It’s a love story, it’s full of creative people we all wanted to know or be. I was 17…doing the Sex Shooter moves…really. I laugh now, but back in the day, it was serious business.
In 1996, Prince released two albums. Emancipation had me hooked, but the love changed after that. I was not ready to move forward in the direction Prince was going. I was still in love with the past. I was playing the song and waiting for the year 1999 from the song release in 1982; which at the time seemed so far away. Yet, I was ready to bring in the year with mi amour.
When the year 1999 hit, I was on the Las Vegas Strip in front of the Flamingo, with friends and strangers. We were all singing a song that was 17 years old. It was an anthem. It was our youth. It was fun. There was nothing more we wanted to come from our lips, but that song. From somewhere we heard the music and we all sang the words. That is a memory I will have forever!
The lessons of Prince’s life are many. He was a musical genius and used his talents to the very best of his ability. The passion for his gifts showed up and showed out. He expressed himself unapologetically. He stood for what he believed in. From the hair, the clothes, the women, to changing his name to a non- name, to fighting for his rights as an artist and human being.
We say he is gone to soon, but only God knows that. Perhaps he was so about the business of living his purpose and sharing it with the world, that his work here was done.
To Prince Rogers Nelson, I say thank you! You helped me through some hard times. You provided many memories. You expressed myself and kept it movin. Through your music, you live on.
I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a mother, an Integrative