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Black Community Opinions

Local Voices: Prince Found Us

By Sean C. Bowers

He looked through his music into our heart’s soul. The way we connected with his rhythms, melodies, and harmonies was ethereal. They became our life anthems. Prince simply was inspiration, drenched in purple four o’clocks with a rose’s backing dropped from the heavens’ sky and bathed in party bubbly. Yet, he also showed us it was okay to be broken and we did not have to end up, on life, choking. Prince was my Joni Mitchell and helped me find many of the words I’ve ever written or spoken.

His 38 albums are just a number, but every Prince song was way more than just another number. We bought’em all like they were each going to help get us over life’s many hump day bumps. Album release days were always collectively cathartic. Prince never failed us, never disappointed on an album or in concert. Prince left it all between the lines on the stage. With Prince, half the fun was always turning the newest Prince page, to his new look, new sound, new beat, new funky line, new slow jam, or new shade of purple outfit, guitar or piano. Most of all, we came for the realness and his rare ability to command a room for all our betterment.

Prince wrapped us up and tucked us into his magical mystery tour bus and life. Price was himself – all the music, every note, every instrument on his first five albums. He played the hell out of everything he touched, and then he touched all of us. Like him or not, people eventually, begrudgingly sometimes, would have to admit they secretly danced alone to Prince. He was that artist, known for a time as only the artist. We could all let him into our innermost sanctums. Prince’s total control of pace and tone set him alone.

His sound made Minneapolis bounce, reverberate and rebound. His vocals made the entire world, his locals. His beat forever made us move our feet. His solos gave us halos and for the briefest of instants, we were one with the man we called “Prince.” He connected us like paisley polka dots to each other, to a place or time. He was a trusted source and the force of our college years, and then again he was there to pick us up after the divorce. He was the driving force behind the friendships, relationships, teams, teammates, basketball scholarships, championships and college graduation. He was the parties. Oh, so many parties and dance floors forever Kissed by him, via late night disc jockeying.

In early morning workouts, the passing of a friend or loved one, the birth of a new baby – Prince orchestrated his vital musical presence through the presents he created, gave to us and left with us. He made us all better music listeners and better students of the game of life. His music pierced ears and other places deliberately delivering us to the threshold of the Promised Land’s perfection.

Prince single-handedly made music come to life, with his life, his Pop Life. Prince owned the life stage. Prince was a quiet man who spoke volumes. He came out big from the beginning, from his first hit, “I wanna be your lover,” to the first note (Kiss guitar solo) of any of his unforgettable songs. I remember the 1978 summer evening, I can still taste the sweat from playing basketball on the court at sunset as Prince came over the radio that first time and a part of me was born. Now it’s torn. No matter the time or place or crowd, people loved Prince, extra loud. He made our mundane everyday existence sweeter because of his sound’s persistence to connect with each of us.

Prince, the man, had that rare gift to uplift. He was a king who only wanted to be Prince. To me, he is the last and only real prince. He is forever Royalty with all of our loving loyalty. Thank you, friend, for your music, wisdom, sensitivity, talent and your cryptic erotic symbolic cymbalism. We heard you Prince, and we will always love you, as you forever reign, purple one. Most of all, in Prince we were all able to find peace and a piece of ourselves that he tucked beautifully away, within ourselves. On 4/21/16 a rainbow formed over Paisley Park and Prince found his way home.

Sean C. Bowers is a local progressive youth development coach, author and poet, who has written for the New Journal and Guide the last eighteen years. His recent book of over 120 NJ&G articles detailing the issues is available at V1ZUAL1ZE@aol.com and he does do large scale solutions presentations.

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