There are three times when I find myself truly concerned into fear. One of those times is super early morning phone calls from home. Those are almost never good news. The last time I got a super early phone call from a 256 area code, I found out my brother had passed away.
The two other are nearly identical. When I get repeated phone calls from different family members. And the last happened today: when my text messages BLOW up from people near and far. It’s almost always never good news.
Today was that day. At 112pm, I received the first of severaly text messages that said Prince Rogers Nelson aka Prince was dead. I was walking in my building at work and stopped dead in my tracks. The fact that I received a succession of texts let me know it wasn’t a joke. I immediately ran to my office to log into every news source I could find because I didn’t want to believe it was true. I held out a few glimmers of hope when it was just reported that somebody at his Paisley Park complex was dead.
But while I told myself that maybe it wasn’t him, my phone began flashing again with notices from news outlet after news outlet reporting the inevitable: Prince is dead.
Prince is dead.
For a significant majority of us, Prince has been a huge part of the soundtracks of our lives. Purple Rain is still one of the greatest albums of all time and he’s released an album nearly every year since the late 70s. When conversations about the greatest artists of our time arise, Prince’s name always comes up even if a lot of us haven’t heard half of his albums. We all know the staples and we all know how they made us feel.
Prince has always been somewhat of a mystery. So even if he was going through anything significant, I doubt we’d know. Prince was never associated with any scandals. His mere appearance anywhere required your full attention. A Prince wave was better than an MJ comeback. Watching Prince enjoy other artists music with that mischievous smile seemed like a song unto itself. So many artists patterned so much of their shows and feel around Prince’s super talented persona.
I did not expect to read this. Prince is one of those people I fully expected to live until he was 250 years old because I have no idea what his health issues were or are. He always looked like a man who was above being human. Every story that celebrities have about Prince are hilarious, with Charlie Murphy’s via Chappelle’s Show being the one that persisted. Game. Blouses is a thing and always will be because it seemed like such a Prince thing to do. Because Prince was Prince.
A tiny Black man in a purple onesie? Oh, you say it’s Prince? That’s dope. He’s so cool.
I’m truly at a loss and I’m sure many others are. Over the next few days I’m sure there will be lots of tributes and letters and pieces written about the man and his legacy. I’m sure before this day is out that a great reflection on what Prince brought to music might surface. I might write one eventually.
But right now, I feel a bit sick because I wasn’t prepared to hear that Prince is dead. And to tell the truth, it’s going to take a while for me to fully process it.
It’s hard losing your icons. Especially when they meant so much to you as part of your life. There will be a lot of Prince playing in the next few days. And we’ll all be better for it.
Long live the purple one.