My first Prince experience was when I was a little girl lying in the hospital, seriously injured after a near-fatal car accident. Being confined to a hospital bed with nothing to do but watch television allowed me the pleasure of watching “His Royal Badness” perform, “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” Though I don’t recall the show, I do remember that I was hooked instantly!
With each album, “Dirty Mind,” “Controversy,” “1999”, and the iconic “Purple Rain,” the hungrier I became for more of his music…for more of him! If you are a fan like me, you can imagine my disappointment when my mother forbade me to purchase the “Purple Rain” soundtrack or see the movie. You can also imagine my heartbreak upon hearing of Prince’s death on April 21, 2016.
Sadly, I will never meet him backstage, and he will never read this blog post, which only proves that these words come from my heart- the heart of a loyal Prince fan.
I’ve loved countless bands and musicians, but Prince will always be at the top of my list of favorite artists. Let’s face it! The man was a genius, having the ability to play over twenty instruments and propelled several proteges (Vanity, Apollonia, and Sheila E., to name a few) to stardom! Even more beguiling was his quiet demeanor and subtle charm!
Being a Prince-lover didn’t only mean bopping around my bedroom to his music, nor clamoring in front of the record store for the next new Prince tape or CD, nor waiting anxiously in front of the theater to see an upcoming Prince movie. No! It also meant reading every magazine article I came across that mentioned his name.
While reading an article that transcribed one of a few interviews Prince did, I found that “His Purple Majesty” suffered a humble and challenging childhood, one which included a broken home and school bullying- an article in which Prince thanked his bullies for his success.
I know what you must be thinking because I thought the same: “No way! Who would ever bully Prince???”
When I listen to “The Beautiful Ones” and hear the lyrics,
“…paint a perfect picture
And bring to life a vision in one’s mind
The Beautiful Ones always smash the picture
Always every time…”,
I can’t help but think of bullies and abusers who take pleasure in destroying others’ confidence, happiness, creativity and dreams!
People bullied young Prince not because he didn’t fit in but because he stood out! Anyone with talent like his would stand out. But unlike the majority of targets, Prince never gave up on his dreams, regardless of others who regularly flooded his ears with negativity.
I can relate to how he must’ve felt in school. Not only was I bullied, I knew others who were as well, one of whom was Dominic (not his real name), a boy I knew in middle school. Being the new kid and having moved from New York, Dominic suffered daily mocking, horrible names and physical beatings at school. Yet he continued to smile, be himself, and push through each humiliating day with hope and optimism. I looked up to this kid because, like Prince, he had the heart of a lion!
As a published author and advocate, not only do I admire Prince, but also the multitudes of everyday people who persevere under overwhelming pressure from bullies. It’s the unsung heroes and heroines…the little people, the have-nots and the unknowns who struggle with no notoriety, awards or huge, adoring fan-base who are the real stars!
Because they continue to dig deep within themselves and claw their way through endless adversity with a smile, just as Prince did on his way up, they are the heart and soul of humanity…the true definition of courage!
To anyone who is knocked down and drug through the dirt, consistently and over time, and still manages to jump back to their feet and remain optimistic? All I can say is, “Wow!” because I am amazed at their bravery and resilience! I doubt I could ever have half the strength these people have!
To the Princes and the Dominics- the fighters and underdogs- the soldiers who battle alone, yet continue to shine and follow their hearts, passions, and dreams amid struggle and overpowering hardship, I salute you!
Rest in Peace, Prince Rogers Nelson! I will always salute you!