Remembering Prince, Who Dissolved Gender and Redefined Star Power
A Prince tribute airs tonight in honor of the four-year anniversary of the icon's death.
Prince was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
By the time he died exactly four years ago today, he'd released 23 albums, redefined the color purple, and ingrained himself within the legacy of pop music forever.
A larger-than-life figure, Prince reshaped pop music sonically and visually, catalyzing a cultural shift. His androgyny and star power made him a mythical figure. "Prince tried to help us understand the differences between identity (how we think of ourselves), behavior (what we do), and perception (how others think of us). Prince dismantled and queered what contemporary culture has tried to bracket," writes Chelsea Raynolds. He was always a firebrand, famously protesting the music industry's machinations, meticulously crafting an image that broke boundaries and dominated public imagination. It was soft and tough, sparkly and mysterious all at once—just like his music.
Nothing could compare to that music, that purple guitar, and the vibrant life force that wound it all together. "There was a man, if he was a mere man at all, with funk faculties beyond Earthly measure, and a degree in getting down that bordered on the divine, who didn't give a good goddamn where you were," writes Joe Taysom. "He was going to bring the funk and, by extension the sex, to you. That man was Prince."
He was also brilliant, a friend and supporter to many and an inspiration to more. In celebration of his life, Prince will be honored by a Grammys performance which will air on CBS at 9PM on Tuesday. "When it came to performing, I'm sorry, but Prince still has everyone beat," host Maya Rudolph says, and it's true: Prince possessed an electricity that outshines everyone who tries to cover his work.
[temporary] PRINCE - best guitar solo - ever you will crywww.youtube.com
Entitled Let's Go Crazy, the tribute was originally filmed in January, two days after the Grammy awards and long before COVID-19 made its way into all of our lives. It features Miguel, John Legend, Usher, H.E.R., Coldplay's Chris Martin, dancer Misty Copeland, the Foo Fighters, and Prince protege and ex-fiance Sheila E. The latter was recently the subject of some vitriol from Apollonia Kotero, co-star of Prince's film Purple Rain, who wrote on Facebook: "You are so desperate to be RELEVANT as the brilliant Linda Perry said. Prince refused to acknowledge you for 5 years before his death because of your lies."
But what would a Prince tribute be without a little drama? Altogether, the performances received varying degrees of approval from those who saw it, but one thing's for sure: Every performance will pale in comparison to Prince's radiant legacy.
If there's one color that Prince is associated with, it's purple. His explanation of his iconic song "Purple Rain" feels relevant today, in these apocalyptically strange times. "When there's blood in the sky - red and blue = purple," he said once. "Purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god guide you through the purple rain."
Now we need Prince's spirit guiding us through the purple rain more than ever before.
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