His voice, his eyes, his talent, his strut, but most importantly, his humanity.
Yesterday, the world lost the legend known by one name…Prince.
The news of Prince’s exit from this side of the world hit me hard. When I began to think about how far back my memories of his performances goes, I realize his music has been a significant part of my life for four decades. Yes, I know, I’m dating myself, but to this day, I remember seeing him on American Bandstand. I believe that was one of the first times he and his musical genius was introduced to the world. If I’m totally honest, the thing I remember most was the interview after his performance.
Now we know that his method of communication, at the time was due to how painfully shy he was when he wasn’t performing back then, but I remember feeling, at that young age, that’s kind of how I felt sometimes, but I would never be allowed to get away with hand signals the way he did when Dick Clark asked questions. He must be really special to get away with that…and on TV!
Special is the smallest way to describe this musical genius; this humanitarian; this talent that has brought people together as much as it separated them, for a time; this man with the expressive eyes that could look into your soul, throw shade or crack you up with the right expression. Oh yes, he was light years beyond merely being special.
As a teenager, his music would soothe me and help me relax or drop off to dreamland. My cassette tape would play until it clicked in notification that the music had stopped for a time, but come the morning, I was right back at it again. I feel like I truly “got” him during the time I prepared to relocate across the country to live on my own for the first time and attend college. The track he performed with Sheena Easton, “You Got the Look” helped me build my confidence and quell my fears as I cleaned my bedroom and crammed my grandfather’s old Army trunk full of what I felt were the necessities I needed to live on my own.
I think the most important lesson I learned from studying him is, don’t ever be afraid to be misunderstood. Use the symbolism that means something to you versus the mainstream. Let people catch up to you. Let people “get” you. Your real tribe will understand. I still struggle with this as I make my way in a world, where, if you’re not accepted, if you don’t follow the beaten path, you’re dead in the water. At least that has been a large part of my experience; but according to the moving tributes shared on social media, the traditional media, Prince had definitely found his tribe…and we will never get over the loss of such a loyal, generous, talented and beautiful man we were blessed to share space and time with…even if it was only a little while.
I’m a bundle of contradictions, I don’t lay claim to any one side, in particular ~ Prince