When people think of Prince, many words might spring to mind; ambiguous, talented, maestro, entity. However for me, there is no way to label him – he just is. There are probably going to be a whole hoard of tributes that are going to give facts, album sales and all the accolades he received over his reign in music, but I connected with Prince on a personal level.
I grew up in a very strict African household, we were first generation migrants from Ghana to the UK and my parents wanted little to do with secular society. I make them sound like monsters, but I was all the better for it and they are really fab people – I mean they’re much mellower now. I digress, I didn’t actually know about Prince until I was in high school when he released the track “Black Sweat” from the ‘3121’ album. I must admit, back then I wasn’t interested but it wasn’t until my early university days and was coming to terms with my sexuality when Prince made a return into my life. I heard “I Would Die 4 U” and from that moment I was wrapped up in being a Prince stan – the only musician that I would stan for.
Looking back, I think he really stood out for me not just because he was insanely talented; but he was smart, spiritual and black. You may think of me as fickle, but the fact that he was a black man was so important for me – to me it meant being able to be black and carefree, being myself without limits and without compromising. He never ever renounced his heritage or sold himself out for anyone or anything, he was proud to be a black musician and he was there for his people.
Prince was someone who transcended norms of gender and sexual expression, his musical abilities were out of this world and there will never be another. Most of my fondest and most treasured moments involve him; that time me and my bestie rushed to Camden’s Koko to try and get into one of a few pop-up performances Prince was putting on; the times when I was with my first, and only, boyfriend and we would lay down and listen to Prince, the time I went crazy in my Uni kitchen dancing around to his music, the first time I watched Tim Burton’s Batman – there’s just too many to count.
2016 has already been a hard year with the losses of some of music and entertainment’s greats, but I can safely say we are beyond blessed to have been alive when these amazing people were here.
So, to my beloved purple entity and musical saviour – You are never forgotten, I love you.