Today marks the 4-year anniversary of Prince’s death. This post was originally posted in 2016.
My first memories of you were in the 1970s when I was a girl. Patchwork denim was everywhere. I had a head full of plaits, and remember enjoying your songs when they came on in the car. “Do Me, Baby” was choice, even though I had no idea you were singing about grown folks’ business; VERY grown folks’ business. I became further entranced with you with “1999” in elementary school. That album was visionary, energetic, and just well…fun.
Puberty loomed with your release of Purple Rain. I was 12, and began to notice your beauty, as well as your talents. You were a compact dynamo of genetic artistry: slim, creamy-skinned with good bone structure and hazel doe eyes. And boy, was I ever mad jealous of Vanity and Appolonia! I nourished my crush the best way a teenage girl does, with posters, albums, and buttons on jackets. I had my parents get me a cake with your likeness on it for my 13th birthday. I often went to sleep, dreaming of you and your compelling world of colored lights, lace, glitter, purple everything, and doves.
1988. I was 16, and my parents gave me your Sign o’ the Times cassette tape for Christmas. I was instantly struck by the single “Starfish & Coffee.” It was melodious and whimsical; simply poetic. It made that frigid winter downright warm and Zen.
I continued eating up your genius with LoveSexy and Diamonds & Pearls. “Gett Off” was the jam. In college, a girlfriend introduced me to your more obscure stuff, like The Black Album. It was then that I realized your penchant for humor with the satirical “Bob George.”
The whole time, I was entranced with your breathtaking chameleon style. Your hairstyles changed as often as the weather, and were always flawlessly coiffed. I SO dug your colorful, well-tailored suits, tunics, hoop earrings, and unique props. Your gun microphone was just so…Prince. I loved it!
And your dichotomy was amazing. You were playfully raunchy one moment, a coy gentleman the next.
I saw you in concert in 2004. You, of course, didn’t disappoint. The pinnacle of that magical evening was a hail of confetti and streamers falling from the ceiling.
Your passing was like a gaping gash to the Purple Heart. It was a Thursday. When I found out, all of the above memories rushed back to me in a fond, warm gush. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. My life with you in a small suburb of Dallas, Texas, flashed before my eyes, too. Then the sadness took hold as I realized all that would cease:
Poetic verses with infectious melodies.
Outrageous outfits that only you could slay with your beauty and confidence.
Purple magic, period.
The world became lackluster and flat in a matter of minutes. I couldn’t concentrate for the rest of the day.
Anyway, I thank you, Prince Rogers Nelson, for entertaining me and countless others with your beautiful abilities. Thank you for sharing your unforgettable third eye visions with us. You penned deep, ethereal lyrics, and kept us partying like it was 1999 for about 40 years.
Goodbye, Sweet Prince. Until the end of time, I’ll truly adore you.
Sean C. Wright is the author of the short story collection A Gathering of Butterflies and the novella Honey Riley.
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