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April 2016

POP CULTURE 101

Class In Session: 11 Lessons We’ve Learned From Prince

PRINCE

Growing up, everyone has a story on music or films or series that they connected with early on and staked their way forever into their hearts for one reason or another. For me, those hands down Top 3 are The Lost Boys, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Purple Rain. Being raised by two parents heavy in working the club scene I was about five years old when I really remember being introduced to the world that was style, sexuality, tragedy, and glamour aka Prince Rogers Nelson–and I couldn’t get enough. From the moment that silhouette faded into the screen behind those fabulous purple letters PURPLE RAIN sprawled across calling attention to all that is dearly beloved, I was hooked.

Religiously watching the story of the creative tortured underdog, I eventually wanted to know more about this magical man who captivated my heart at such an early age, so I quizzed my parents on everything they knew about Prince. Was this story true? Where is Minnesota and when are we going? What’s eyeliner and where can I buy some? When am I getting a guitar? If my birthday is 10 days after his, does this mean we’re soul mates? What’s a Gemini?

By the time I was around 7, I was bit hard by the writing bug, heavily into my white balloon covered notebook scribbling every thought, fear, or idea that came to mind with the sounds of my dad’s vinyl record player blaring in the background. It became my favorite pastime and something I looked forward to every weekend when visiting him, and upon my arrival he always knew to put on your purple majesty.

Kids always play games, especially growing up opposite the rich side of the tracks you had to make your own fun. Ours was Prince and the Revolution, grabbing mops and brooms and swaying fast to the instrumental sounds of air and terrible adolescent voices. It was a known fact amongst my group of cousins and friends that I, was always Prince. The kid of my mother’s friend that randomly joined one afternoon didn’t get that memo, shoving me to the side shouting that I couldn’t be Prince because I was a girl, therefore needing to step to the left or right to play either Lisa or Wendy. Let’s just say that young man still may have a knot upside his head in shape of a broom stick and I was grounded the remaining summer. And I definitely played Prince that day.

And when it comes to The Artist, most of us have these stories. Where we were, what pulled us in, what inspired us on, what turned us on, what brought us down, and what pulled us through. Most can’t talk music in particular without mentioning his name. This realization was more than apparent upon breaking news yesterday that Prince Rogers Nelson passed away at the age of just 57. Almost needless to say, I needed a moment. I needed more than a few. I’ve definitely been sad in the past of some celebrity deaths, but this one hit me like a ton of purple bricks and I ugly cried as if a close family member died. An immense part of my childhood, my adulthood, my creative drive–felt ripped to pieces. Eventually pulling myself  and my eyeliner together, I of course had to take to social media and the response to Prince’s death was surprisingly soothing–reading all the impactful stories and seeing so much footage and never before seen photographs. The man was beyond legendary. And shouts to MTV for going MTV playing music videos again and taking a break from Teen Shore whatever.

And stories aside, most of us were given lessons. Let’s talk things we’ve learned from Mr. Nelson.

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