Remembering the Music Legend: Prince

Remembering the Music Legend: Prince

Claire Payne, Assistant Content Editor and Staff Writer

On Thursday April 21st, the world lost one of the most influential and iconic artists, Prince Rogers Nelson, better known as Prince.

He was first found unresponsive in an elevator at 9:43 a.m. in his mansion and studio in Minnesota known as Paisley Park and was then pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m. at the young age of 57. The autopsy has been performed, but according to Prince’s publicist, “it will be at least four weeks before we receive the results of the autopsy.” The most likely cause of death from an analysis of evidence is drug overdose, but nothing is confirmed.

By statistics, Prince was incredibly successful, he sold more than 100 million records, released 39 studio albums (all self-produced), won seven Grammys, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score for Purple Rain, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

However, Prince was so much more than just a few honorable numbers and awards. He impacted an innumerable amount of lives through his music and philanthropy. At the age of 16, according to his first manager, he was “so shy and so introspective and quiet,” he was even afraid that Prince would not be able to perform for an audience. Decades later, he would transcend the music industry and influence forever. As Billboard put it, “Prince’s legacy as a musician, a singer, a style icon, and an endlessly creative mind is nearly unparalleled.”

Not only did he impact music, but he also broke boundaries and defied society’s expectations. For many fans, they could identify with Prince in his passion to embrace his own identity within the confines of a world that still struggled to categorize and limit him. He defied expectations about music, style, sexuality, gender norms, artistic expression, and conformity. As Frank Ocean put it, “[He] was a straight black man who played his first televised set in bikini bottoms and knee-high heeled boots… He made me feel more comfortable with how I identify sexually imply by his display of freedom from and irreverence for obviously archaic ideas like gender conformity.” He was never afraid to acknowledge and fight against the barriers held against minority groups regarding race, sexual orientation, and gender. He gave new meaning to the phrase “be yourself.”

He was also a very active philanthropist; he gave a voice to those who didn’t have one. Recently, he worked with the organization Green for All, which creates green jobs in disadvantaged communities. He also worked with #YesWeCode, which educated urban youth about technology. He also worked to raise awareness for movements like Black Lives Matter and sent money to the family of Treyvon Martin. Out of all of his philanthropic actions, my favorite was in 1991, when the Special Olympics were not going to happen that year because there was not enough funds. So Prince decided to give them a place to go in Minneapolis, and performed “Diamonds and Pearls,” at the event, warming the hearts of thousands of Special Olympics athletes.

Since his death, thousands made pilgrimages to downtown Minneapolis, near his hometown, to remember the artist who pioneered their “Minneapolis sound.” Cities all across the country are honoring him by shining the color purple in honor of Prince. Those places include Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Dallas, San Francisco, and so many others. Many artists have also paid tributes to Prince such as Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, and many others.

Prince left behind a legacy that will live in the hearts of millions forever. As Prince said, “Life is just a party, and parties weren’t meant to last.”