When the media released the news that Prince had died last year I recall thinking another celebrity death? Most likely an overdose. What a tragic and seemingly unexplainable loss considering everyone believed he was a clean living and healthy person. I would later observe the public grief and participate in discussions with friends who mourned this loss with a depth I could not appreciate.
For me, he was a famous person, an innovative musician whose songs I had listened to growing up, yes he was described as an icon but to me he was a man who opened doors, forced the Industry to perhaps reflect on how they managed talent. He took ownership of his brand, creativity, talent and understood his worth. Although I recognised his achievements I didn’t feel that deep sense of loss that I witnessed globally and that people described. Perhaps this is because I didn’t truly connect with his music or his purpose.
I had a discussion about this with a friend, a ‘fan’ and we came to the realisation that I had never felt the need to idolise or put other famous people on a pedestal. I don’t think this is a unique quality. Yes, I feel sad when I hear about the death of a famous person, sadder still when it’s linked to drugs, and briefly mourn the loss of a light extinguished before their impact on society has been fully realised. (I guess this last bit doesn’t apply to Prince as his life had an immense impact on people around the world). I say a prayer for their loved ones and I move on with my life and think about ways to make money.
On this quest to better understand the icon, I dropped my daughter at nursery and headed to the O2 for the official press opening of My Name Is Prince: Direct from Paisley Park.
These are my thoughts walking around the exhibition and opening my mind to his legacy:
Seeing his outfits displayed I couldn’t get over how tiny he was. People say he was 5ft2, though some believe he may have been shorter than that.
His extensive shoe collection would give a lot of women mini palpitations.
How far people of colour have come in terms of finding matching foundation and makeup. I think he would high five me on this one as I was watching videos from his early career and thought chile….
Referring to an earlier post I wrote on leaving a legacy and talking about death, people please write your will! Particularly if you have children and assets. Be explicit in communicating your final wishes.
Create passive income streams, if I recall correctly, in the 90s when he was in a dispute with Warner, it was reported that he had so much material written he could make a lot money on what hadn’t been recorded. Over 20 years later, how much more material did he write and how much money will that make for ‘his estate’ and beneficiaries? I also thought about how he would feel about this situation.
A lot of work has been done around mental health, stigma and accessing support particularly within ethnic minority communities and I cannot stress the importance of reaching out when you need it or feel you maybe self medicating or not coping mentally. We can only speculate on what happened that evening but I still feel sad about how he passed away.
My opinion, this exhibition will obviously appeal to Prince Fans, costume designers, shoe lovers, and people like me who come with an open mind to find out more about his life and contribution to the music industry and creative arts. I believe you will leave inspired to live in your truth and acknowledge your own uniqueness and possibly add Paisley Park to your destination wish list as it is now in my heart.