Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Purple Pain



I can't continue this blog until I say something about the passing of Prince. Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I didn't sleep that night, but rather observed tributes on the internet, Twitter particularly. I retweeted a lot of them because I guess it helped me make sense of my own grief which feels so intense for someone I didn't actually know. But as a prolific and genius musician, Prince shared profoundly with strangers around the world. Perhaps it's not so strange then that reflecting on the loss as I write this is making me a little teary-eyed.

Something I saw on Twitter that resonated with me was a warning to Debra Lee (of BET) not to mess up Prince's tribute concert with a bunch of the newer and lesser talents that inhabited 106 & Park. I'm not alone in saying there better be no Trey Songz and Miguel numbers. A tribute of this magnitude demands legends and those who can truly sang. It shouldn't be limited to just R&B or Funk. As much as I feel the mainstream media diminishes black artists, the tribute that's really important to me is Eric Clapton. Or one of the guitarists from Led Zeppelin as it turns out that the widely-circulated Clapton quotation regarding Prince's greatness isn't real. The Snopes article goes on to point out that Rolling Stone didn't even include Prince in it's "Top 100 Guitarists of All Time" (2003). (I recall them changing their greatest album of all time to Nevermind from Thriller and MTV changing their greatest video to Smells Like Teen Spirit from Thriller. The album thing is debatable— changing times, etc— but MTV was full of it with that call).

I want to see Donatella Versace and Cincy Crawford (he did write a song about her) share memories of Prince and speak to his influence on the fashion world. I really would like to see the musical heavy-lifting performed by George Clinton, Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Bilal, Maxwell, Chaka Khan, and Stevie Wonder. Of course Patti LaBelle will be there, but the poor woman seems to have to memorialize everybody in music. I don't want her overburdened. I'm sure Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, and Janelle Monae all want to participate, but I don't want to see too much from them. In fact, there needs to be space in the program for some gospel singers like Mary Mary, The Clark Sisters, or Yolanda Adams to sing I Would Die 4 U. I sang that in my grandmother's small-town Georgia A.M.E. children's choir (with the lyrics changed a bit) so it had to have been enormously popular for Sunday Schoolers in the 80's. No matter what BET puts together, it probably won't be enough for most Prince fans.



I think participating in any sort of tribute of one's own making is likely more cathartic than watching anything on TV. If I were still in the Atlanta area, I would've headed to the Fox Theatre. I hope everyone who can possibly get to Bowie vs Prince in Portland, Or makes it; this is the last year the event will be held. I can't think of anything more uplifting for someone like me than a mobile bike-party attended en masse by flamboyant Bowie and Prince fans. I hope the city appears absolutely beseiged by biking Bowie's and Prince's this summer. I would love to be there. If any magazines, moneyed blogs, or lifestyle shows need a special correspondent, I'm the woman for the job. If any Portland boutique hotels would like a guest with effusively positive perceptions of her stay during her first ever trip west of the Mississippi, look no further.

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