The artist formerly known as ‘ the artist formerly known as Prince‘, aka ‘Prince‘ or ‘Prince‘ Rogers Nelson – passed away.
His death, echoing around the globe with thunderous fanfare via social media.
The obvious reasons are acute. Fame, fame and more fame. The brighter the flame, the harder to extinguish. The brighter the flame, the more it spreads with the oxygen provided by the corporate machine, the fans and the product itself. In Prince’s case, the product was music.
How could anything else come from a man whose parents were of music lineage?
Mom ( Mattie Shaw) was a Jazz singer. Dad ( John L. Nelson), a lyricist and pianist. Music was part of Prince’s genetic code. Chances are if Prince’s chosen career happened to be a forklift operator – at home, as a hobby, Prince would have probably played the piano or sang ‘just for fun’ …
So what? Lots of folks are musical. Lots of souls possess the God-given ability to pick up any instrument and play it well. Some, such as Prince, are either lucky or blessed to reach a level where all the tools required to reach millions are at their fingertips. Artists such as Prince can then preach their messages to the hearts and souls of their followers. In effect, affect people’s lives.
Scanning social media in the hours following the death announcement, everyone had a thought, a picture or a paragraph pertaining to their ‘hero’ ‘Prince’ Rogers Nelson.
Fifteen – year-olds, teenagers – people not born when Prince hit the Pop charts were mourning his loss. Eighty-year-olds, folks who had no idea that Prince, not so long ago, went by a symbol as his moniker. Fifty-year-olds who had no idea that Prince played guitar. Folks who – have no idea just how much of a musical genius Prince was.
There are reasons why Prince’s death spread faster than the Ebola virus and caused many bosses panic attacks.
First ( and the most symbolic indication of humanity’s demise); people are like sheep. If one person shares the news, one ‘cool’ person, it inevitably goes viral. ‘Everyone’ must be the bearer of bad news even though ‘everyone’ has witnessed ‘everyone’ being the bearer of bad news on their newsfeeds. If this was not bad enough, suddenly ‘everyone’ is an expert of at least one aspect of the subject of the bad news. ‘Bobby Joe’ knows everything about Prince’s music. ‘Harry’ grew up with Prince in Minnesota. ‘ Darlene’ has a friend who knows what killed ‘ The Purple One’. On and on it goes …
Secondly, there are genuine fans out there. People who know more about Prince than the time of day ‘doves cry’. Fanatics who can toss ‘Purple Rain‘ aside as a commercial jingle. Folks who can say “Let’s go crazy’ and not get into a ‘Little Red Corvette’ and party like it’s 1999.
These fans, these people – are the divine holders of any profound detail concerning the life, the times and the music of The Prince of Funk. These folks are genuinely hurting. They mourn and will continue to mourn the depth of not only Prince’s musical ability, his knowledge and his craftsmanship as a true artist. A songwriter, a composer and a groundbreaking figure. The ‘Spike Lee’ of musical direction.
Musicians, fellow artists also fall into this category. People – women, men and transgenders who recognized the abilities of a man who accomplished in the studio and on stage what they could only dream of doing in their finest moments. For them – ‘Princes’ exist solely in fairy tales and rightly so.
Lastly and the veritable reason everyone mourned Prince on a level normally fit for Kings and not Princes; people are human and nothing touches the human soul more than music …
‘Sally’ recalls quite vividly where she was was when the riffs of ‘Little Red Corvette’ eased her pain. Lifting whatever was troubling her for a fleeting moment of a busy workday. ‘Jimmy’, the once pimply teenager, at the drop of some purple misting – zooms to a backseat and his first kiss with Prince providing ‘the condoms’ in the form of ‘dearly beloved’ oozing through the Blaupunkt speakers of his rusted Honda Civic. His first car mirroring his first ejaculation.
‘Jane’, the once party animal-turned-mother-of-three snickering of ‘the fight’ that took place as she defended Prince in the ever important Michael vs. Prince debate. Arguments as important at the time as Trump vs Hilary is today. Music was and continues to be the pulse of the people. It escapes no one and leaves no one indifferent.
An artist on the scale of Prince, a man who affected millions through music, showmanship, songwriting and individuality left no one indifferent.
That is the reason we mourn his death. That is the reason we will never mourn his music.
1958 – 2016