He played every instrument. Every instrument. Wrote every song. Recorded and produced the entire album. I had never heard of such a thing. I was 17. Prince was 21. This was not my crushing on Off The Wall Michael Jackson. This was a bit dangerous. Like how my Mom wasn’t allowed to buy Elvis records when she was a teenager.
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo ( I counted) …I wanna be your lover…
My punk rock college roommate who held polite disdain for my r & b music taste approved when she put her ear to the guitar riffs on Bambi. So sensual, so sensual, so sensual in that little high-heeled, jump-suited body of his. People, they talked about what he had in him. Was he black, bi-racial, feminine, masculine? Miles Davis said Prince had 4 things in him: James Brown, Jimmy Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, and his stage concept was Charlie Chaplin. How can you miss with that, Miles said?
At the Hong Kong in Harvard Square with my best friend Marci. Displaying MIT-worthy engineering skills. Connecting eight straws together to siphon scorpion bowls from neighboring tables filled with real Ivy Leaguers. Taking a pause for the cause to dance to Pop Life…what’s the matter with your life?…everyone can’t be on top…
Wendy and Lisa and The Revolution seemed dangerous too. Big 80’s hair, brocade, garters, and ruffles. And I knew our Prince loved women. And because of Wendy and Lisa and all the other virtuosas who followed, I knew Prince really, really loved women.
He purple rained (tip of the hat to poet Christopher Johnson for teaching me how to make non-verbs into verbs) He purple rained Apollonia, and all of us. And he’s not someone who transcended race one person said. Don’t say that, they said. Prince was unapologetically black. Black, black, blackity, black, black.
A guitar player, like Jimmy, remember how Miles said that? And that van driver emulated you 3 days after you passed while stopped at a red light in the East Village..belting out Purple Rain with windows rolled down. Me yelling…Yes, Prince! My teenage daughters telling me to STOP, MOM! But it’s Prince. You can’t stop Prince. You can’t stop a prince who is the truth. You can’t stop a prince who is who he is. My girls agreed, but said you’re not Prince, so you must stop.
A prince who owned his own music. A prince with a tiny frame whose feet I virtually kneeled at when luck had me sitting in the 3rd row of his Musicology concert in Oklahoma City. Me in awe of how such a small man commanded the crowd of over 10,000. All of us in the palm of his hand. Call My Name. Singing I Would Die 4 U and meaning it, and singing Nothing Compares 2 U and meaning it. No longer Dirty Mind. Prince, you were the only Jehovah Witness I’d open the door for.
And yet we didn’t know how big a heart our prince had. Giving money anonymously to the family of a black boy who was senselessly killed, justice not served. Giving much to many more. Not showing off. And now you are gone from us, and in my heart, is a hole because it’s much too soon for you to go. You had hundreds of songs that we never got to hear, and hundreds more in your brain and your soul to still create.
Thank you for letting me be a witness to your journey. I miss u. We miss u. U were the ultimate Beautiful One.
www.youtube.com, Prince, The Beautiful Ones, posted by RandomNest