Purple Blues

I can’t begin to express the loss to me of Prince as a living artist and humanitarian. His influence on me is so profound, going all the way back to his appearance on American Bandstand, when he threw Dick Clark off his game. My friend Ennis Hooker and I went to see Purple Rain at the movie theater that used to be across from Oakland Technical High School, dressed all in purple. My mother made me take my little sister Darice along, and I made her sit way in the back of the theater, trying to be cool in front of my friends. (She’s still holding it against me.) Harold Lowe won Student Body President by starting his election speech with “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called school…”(with “Let’s Go Crazy” playing in the background) –we lost our minds!! (Of course he won). My children’s father serenaded me with “Adore” after a disagreement early in our marriage. I couldn’t listen to the song for many years after we broke up. As a teenager in the 80’s the magazines we read were always trying to get us to choose between Prince and Michael Jackson. I loved them both, but the freaky side of Prince stole my heart more. His incredible talent with instruments, his lyrical artistry, his vocal interpretations, the emotion he drew from me as a listener all contributed to my adoration of him. As a teenager working at Parklane Hosiery at MacAthur Broadway Mall , I sold many pairs of hosiery to Rosie Gaines, who was just gaining traction as a vocalist. She and I were friends for awhile until her career took off and I left work to begin motherhood. She went on to record many songs with Prince, including “Diamonds and Pearls”. My new husband just recorded a tribute song to Prince– less than 3 months ago!! The list goes on and on in my life…The interview which came out recently with Don Lemon and Van Jones made me cry when I think of all the ways the World makes us into private people, and how many more lives we could have touched if I had the chance to know him personally. I learned about much of Prince’s philanthropy and generosity. I learned how deeply political and revolutionary his mindset was. I am inspired to do more with my gifts and to bring joy to others with my music, food, comedy and other projects which are in development. I think I owe my little sister a re-do on the movie. I can relate to his need for privacy and seclusion the more I live and interact with humans…

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4 thoughts on “Purple Blues

  1. Big sister! I am not mad. You facilitated my first real encounter with THE ARTIST. For that, I owe you one. Of course, like so many people, his music transformed my concept of the possible and made me feel less alone in my life over many years. I have great memories of you, me, and Prince. Baby, you’re a star!

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