Dearly beloved. Prince. Died. Today.
I was dreaming when I wrote this so forgive me if it goes astray.
As with anything cool in my life I was exposed to Prince by my older brother, who looked a lot like
Prince when he was younger. I was 10 years old. EVERY MORNING, we would listen to Purple Rain as we got
ready for school. I remember my brother coming home one day with Pop Life on vinyl, playing it over and
over again. We wore those records and tapes out. Whenever my brother got into arguments with my parents, he would lock himself in his room and and play When Dove’s Cry. Maybe I’m just like my father. Maybe I’m just like my mother.
I remember the distinct moment when I realized Prince was cool, watching the video for 1999 on MTV. The confidence in his face when he ad libs “…we’re gonna, we’re gonna…” I was 5 years old.
That’s 32 years of being a fan. Months, not just hours, at a time of listening only to Prince.
I remember the first time I saw him perform, at the Toyota Center in Houston. It was by chance,
that my mother-in-law got some free tickets to his Musicology tour, and one her guests just didn’t show up. I got the call and dropped everything to race out to meet them at the stadium. The dictionary definition of nosebleed seats, we were up at the very top. This little white blur of light bouncing around the stage non-stop. That man could move in 6 inch stiletto’s like a B-Boy in a pair of Adidas SuperStars! Towards the end, I could hear the beginning chords of my favorite song at the time, Call Me, which I would sing to my wife on Saturday mornings. Something shot up in my bones and I jumped up and screamed like 15 year old Beatle’s fanatic at the Ed Sullivan show.
I saw him again, very recently at the Paramount Theater in Oakland for his Piano tour, lucky enough
to actually get tickets. Being much closer this time, he seemed unreal, like a hologram. Just him and a piano playing whatever he wanted, even interleaving the Charlie Brown theme song. At one point, he jumped up and knocked his stool over. My wife turned to me and said “He’s not going to pick that up!” Sure, enough this little man just George Jefferson walked off so that a stage hand could reset his stool, and Prince floated back out. It was smooth, like within 30 seconds.>
Prince was Rock, Blues, R&B, Jazz, Funk, Go-Go, everything. Even Gospel.
Whether you were aware or want to admit, Prince was a deep Christian (JW actually)
and it was evident in his music and in his performances. I would always get chills watching his fans
shower him with applause, and he would just smile and point up at his Source. To God be all the glory.
I heard a story on the radio earlier this morning of a lady that was watering her lawn, and out of nowhere Prince jumped out of a black SUV and asked her about being a Jehovah’s Witness. In his music, it could be as obvious as the Lord’s Prayer on Controversy or subtle like Let’s Go Crazy. Clearly, he is singing about Jesus on I Would Die 4 U or The Cross, heaven and salvation on The Ladder.
I felt strange wanting to skip work, fighting this urge to cry. I understand, feeling like this over someone I’ve never met, a celebrity. I’m sure there are greater tragedies happening in the world today. Nobody on my floor knew who Prince was. I felt like screaming, “Prince DIED! I can’t answer any emails or questions!!” But to be honest, me and Prince have met. Prince’s music helped me articulate some of my deepest thoughts and feelings, if only ever to myself. When We’re Dancing Close and Slow, I can tell my wife I Adore her, that I wish [IF] I Was her Girlfriend, that I Want to be her Lover. Even though I ain’t got a lot of money, I’m rich with personality. I learned the words “Insatiable” and “Delirious” from him.
I asked my wife to put together a small tribute to him:
So this is what it sounds like When Dove’s Cry? I guess Sometimes it Snows in April. I guess life
is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last. I Gotta Broken Heart Again. How could you just leave me standing, alone in a world that’s so cold? Trouble winds are blowing, I’m growing cold.
Get me outta here, I feel I’m gonna die.
But before I let that happen, I’ll dance my life away.
Even in death, his music is still speaking for me.