By now I’m sure everyone knows that Prince has died. He was many things to many people and he was an artist loved by many, but as a Minnesotan, he was ours. He was our brother, our mentor, our biggest cheerleader. He loved us and we loved him. He was eccentric, but despite his eccentricities and specific needs, he was always trying to make people happy by supporting their art or showing up unexpected to things. He, like Bowie, was a beautiful space fairy prince who I’m sure has just gone back to his planet.
One of the things I love best about Prince is that he made is okay to be a weird black kid. I remember one year for Christmas I asked for a bunch of CDs because my mom finally got me a CD boombox. I’d mostly listened to “weird stuff” (Marilyn Manson, etc) so when I asked for a stack of music, my mom tried to give me “normal stuff” for Christmas. The two albums I got were Seal (still a favorite to this day; little known Samantha fact) and Prince “Emancipation.” In between listening to my angry goth/industrial music, I’d dance to “Betcha By Golly Wow” in secret, because heaven forbid I’d let anyone see me dance.
The saying in Minnesota goes, “Everyone in Minnesota has a Prince story.” Several years ago, I was showing my last collection under my old label Blasphemina’s Closet “Party Monster” during MNFashion Week at The Shows. Little did I or the other designers know that Prince himself had snuck in. I was chatting with the producer afterwards and she said, “We weren’t able to tell you during, because we were sworn to secrecy, but Prince was here! He stayed and saw all of you! He was in the balcony!” We flipped out and kept running up to each other like, “HAVE YOU HEARD!?” There were rumblings about him pulling looks from the runway for a secret project and even though it didn’t pan out, I know which of my looks he liked most and hearing it took the air from my lungs. Needless to say, that sample is no longer for sale. I can’t part with it.
Last night when my husband got off work I asked if he’d join me driving around the city, looking at all of the purple things. The 35W bridge, the Lowry Bridge, Target Corporate Headquarters, the Guthrie Theater, IDS, everything. The entire skyline glowed that beautiful purple glow, other cars besides ours were blasting Prince on their stereos, pedestrians and drivers were politely letting people get around to take pictures. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. There was a calm, a warm air of love and celebration, and the city was brimming with it.
We’ll miss our patron saint of art and music, our champion for creativity, but I hope his spirit will live on in all of us. He believed in us and wanted all of us artists to grow and succeed.
Let’s all continue to love and support each other. Hope to see you at one of the dance parties this weekend.