When my hubs sent me a text yesterday, informing me that Prince had died, I thought it was an internet hoax—you know, one of those annoying Facebook stories people keep reposting without checking the facts? No way…
And then it was confirmed. It’s not even funny the amount of blogs and news sites I clicked on yesterday. If you were on the internet at all yesterday, you couldn’t dodge the announcement: “Prince Found Dead In Elevator.”
You see, the man was iconic to me. I’ve always loved his music and knew he was a musical prodigy. I’ve known for years he wrote Sinead O’Connor’s ballad, “Nothing Compares 2 U” and that he sang it live with Rosie Gaines. And while I wasn’t a fan of his sense of fashion, it didn’t stop me from giving him props for wearing stack-heeled boots since he was, in fact, a tiny guy.
The first time I heard the soundtrack to “Purple Rain” was in a scrap of a town called Hornbrook at my friend Nicki’s house. Of course, we listened to “Darling Nikki,” none the wiser about its true meaning as wide-eyed sixth graders. My parents would’ve probably grounded me from ever going over to Nicki’s house again, but I still know the songs to the “Purple Rain” soundtrack by heart.
Honestly, I hadn’t planned on writing a blog about Prince or The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. Didn’t want ya’ll to know that the only time I visited Minneapolis, I made my friend drive by Paisley Park just so I could say I did it (without hyperventilating). But then another friend sent me a Facebook repost (from John Tesh, no less) last night and it struck a chord:
“For people who don’t understand why others mourn the death of artists, you need to understand that these people have been a shoulder to cry on. Our rock. They’ve been family, friends, leaders, teachers and role models. Many have taught us what we need to know and what to do when times get rough.
They’ve helped us move on. They’ve pushed us out of bed.
They’ve helped us live when nobody else had the time to. Artists have inspired us in endless ways and have been with us through stages in our lives.
We’ve made memories with them. So when they die, a part of us dies.”
I’m not saying that Prince was my rock, but his music is carved in the walls of my life. I will sing “Let’s go crazy, let’s get nuts. Let’s look for the purple banana ’til they put us in the truck” loudly and not even care what you think.
Artists, no matter their medium, have the capacity to make memories. I hope someday, my writing will make someone reminisce—but I won’t wear a purple, velvet or satin coat or change my name to a symbol.
P.S. I’m not ashamed to say “Purple Rain” was on the DVD player last night.