I am just now emotionally able to write this post. Sixty four days ago my world as I knew it changed forever. On April 21, 2016 the musician, artist and entertainer who I adored since 1978 transitioned. I refuse to say the ‘D’ word. This man who came into my life when I was 10 years old, crawled into my soul and made it his home. At that age I didn’t know what to make of him other than he was beautiful and his voice was angelic. The man who played more than 20 instruments, self taught. Who burst onto the music scene determined to make it on his own terms. Whose look and sound defied any category that dared to confine and define him. A man who had 10 year old Kristina singing “Soft and Wet” and had no idea what he was talking about. A man whose play on words had you in a constant state of blushing, “I wanna be the only one that makes you come (pause for effect) running!” A man who had us thinking that the year 1999 was the year the world would end, so we better party like it’s the last time. A man who gave a whole new meaning for “Little Red Corvette”. A man whose name is synonymous with the color purple. He hijacked the color and made it his own. You can’t think of the color purple and not think about this man. A man whose diminutive statue seems to be in complete contrast with his prodigious talent. Prince.
I was driving when I heard the news and it felt like someone hit me in the chest with a battering ram. I screamed in horror. Tears immediately started streaming down my face and it seemed as if I was laboring for each breath thereafter. For the first 28 hours after hearing the news I couldn’t eat or sleep. I watched tv non-stop consuming all of the tributes from VH1 playing Purple Rain to MTV playing a barrage of his videos and all of the news outlets doing interviews. I figured if I keep watching him, looking at him, finding his face and his voice then it won’t be true. I am still waiting to wake up from this nightmare. Prince has been apart of my life for 35 years. Through the good and the bad. My room as a teenager was a shrine to him. Posters, concert ticket stubs, album covers. I even bought a toy little red corvette and hung it from my ceiling light fixture. And yes I managed to find a raspberry beret and wore it every chance I got. In junior high and high school I was known as the “Weird Prince Girl”. I was a Prince fan long before Purple Rain. I had the poster that came with the Controversy album of him in the shower with his black bikinis on. Why did a 13 year old girl have that on her wall? I remember being in the front row during one of his Controversy concerts. I STILL don’t know how that happened! And seeing the Purple Rain concert at 16, to this day is the BEST concert I have ever been to.
But as the days, weeks and months have passed and as I listen to his music, watch his videos, read articles about him and watch interviews, Prince has taught me one big lesson, to be responsible and respectful when it comes to the gift God has given you. It was extremely obvious what Prince’s gift was, music. To play it, sing it, write it, produce it, arrange it and seduce us with it. To merely say Prince was a musician is like saying Michaelangelo was just a painter. That Mozart was just a composer. Yes there were many before him that laid the groundwork for his genius. Jimi Hendrix comes to mind of course. I’m pissed that I will never hear that collaboration. But then again the world just wasn’t equipped to handle an event of that magnitude. Prince was a bonafide genius. He was responsible when it came to his gift. He nurtured it. He knew how precious it was. He was honored to have been given such a task to share this monumental endowment with the world. And he did it with such vigor. We’ve heard the stories of how he would work for days at a time, writing new songs daily, giving concerts that were more epic than the last. And the infamous “vault” that contains probably 500 years worth of music. Singing, screeching, writhing, and pulling us into this wild, wonderful, whimsical world of Prince. And how hard he fought to regain and retain ownership of that gift and helping other artists do the same. Seeing him perform you knew he wasn’t in it for the money. He did it for us. He was relentless in pursing his gift so that he could share it with us.
When was the last time you were relentless in pursuing your gift? When was the last time you even acknowledged your gift? God gave us all a gift, whether it’s music, writing, teaching, skipping rope, basket weaving or raising turtles. We ALL have been given a gift. Just because it’s not big as someone else’s or perceived as glamorous doesn’t mean it’s not as important. God gives gifts according to our willingness to share them. He gave Prince the humongous gift of music because He knew Prince would pursue to the point of exhaustion and create a body of work that will ensure his legacy will be forever etched in history. Do you think you could have handled Prince’s gift? Probably not, because you weren’t meant to. What’s your gift and are you being responsible for it? Are you taking care of it? Are you nurturing it? Hell, have you even said ‘hi’ to it? I am so glad I was given the privilege of living in the same time and space as Prince. I saw him at least 25 times in concert. He is to me the ultimate example of pursuing your gift and leaving your mark. I must apologize to God for not actively pursuing my gift, writing. That’s my gift and I must pursue it at all cost. The first step is admitting what your gift is and proclaim it at the top of your lungs.
Thank you Prince for 35 years of scintillating, sexy, outrageous and over the top music. Thank you for making me blush. Thank you for letting me know it was ok to be known as the Weird Prince Girl. Thank you for the hours upon hours that I sat in my room and just lost myself in you. Thank you for creating the soundtrack to my life. And thank you for teaching me the invaluable lesson of being completely and utterly responsible for my gift. May u live 2 see the dawn.