My Purple Heart - Ode to Prince
Beloveds, when I tell you that Prince Rogers Nelson has taken me through all types of emotions these past four weeks. . .We Sty Carter Dee Randall K Lanise Graham soldier'd up with an Operation Purple Rain FB group to ensure we snagged tickets for what is now known as his last concert. From that moment, there was anxiety as we waited in lines, on the phone and online to purchase tickets. Then came disappointment when the Purple One postponed his show because of the flu. But, one week later, he came through like fresh morning dew and announced he would grace Atlanta the next Thursday. Excitement. I had never seen Prince perform live, and it had been nearly 15 years since I went to a real concert. That night, I put my glad rags on to party like it was 1999. A microphone, piano, screen of geometrical shapes and artistic photos set the atmosphere. I jokingly told my bestie not to look directly at all those patterns and shapes on the screen because Prince was probably trying to put a spell on us. I now know I couldn't have been more wrong. That spell was cast decades ago. It was a sold out concert, yet it was an intimate setting. I felt as if I were sitting in his living room as he serenaded me and a few thousand of my closest friends. I guess that's why it's been so difficult to put into words how I feel right now. I felt as if a member of my family had gone on to glory when I got that text, 'Have you heard that Prince died?' That can't be. Not my fellow Gemini?! Since the concert, Operation Purple Rain was already planning their jaunt to the summer series at Paisley Park. In fact, we'd been posting, joking and texting about Prince since the concert. He still had our heartstrings, and perhaps that's why it hit us all hard. His sudden departure (look at me still not wanting to say the other "d" word), caused me to reflect on why my eyes started sweating this morning. I thought about how I got to know and love Prince. My dad is from Birmingham, and we would spend holidays, summers and just-because weekends visiting his family. I looked forward to visits and my time with my cousin Eric. We were the same age, and he was the closest thing to a brother this only child had at the time. I remember him asking me if I had heard this cool dude named Prince. Being the nerds we were, we didn't just listen to his music. We read his lyrics. Those led to long nights of philosophical debates about the meaning behind his prose. I know The Ladder kept us up until 3 a.m. We weren't worth two dead flies the next morning, but we thought we had the world figured out, until the next album dropped and Prince was on a whole new level. His songs had us researching the Bible, secret societies, world history and polling the old heads. Prince was forever changing. These philosophical discussions and jam sessions spanned over the years, probably until we graduated high school and visits were interrupted by college and this thing called life.
It was over 20 years ago, but I remember Prince and the way we broke down his lyrics, which was really my coming of age. I learned about myself. First, I was shocked that our parents didn't make us go to bed. One small step toward adulthood. I discovered who I was. I found my voice. I learned that my cousin and I could disagree philosophically, yet still love and respect one another. This has served me well in life. I found my truth. Even though time has painted over the canvas of some of my views, I'm comfortable in my evolution into the woman I am today. Controversy, The Ladder, When Doves Cry, Purple Rain, Thieves in the Temple, Adore, Insatiable, etc. I don't underestimate Prince's musical genius, but have you ever read his lyrics? Poetry, artistry and a heavenly gift. His music did for me exactly what he intended it to do. You make it what it is for you, same as art. My interpretation of The Ladder slightly differed from my cousin's, and yet it moved both of us to match intellect and wit into the wee hours. Perhaps that's why the Artist that is Prince is tugging on my heartstrings right now. I had a childhood crush on Michael Jackson, and I believe he was the ultimate Entertainer. My crush eventually faded into admiration of his talent. But my love affair with Prince evolved over time, just as he did. Prince's music has been the soundtrack of my life's moments.
We grew up and grew older together. Over the years, my boo always had me. Through breakups, rebellions, falling in love, heartbreak, enlightenment, the turn ups, the object of affection and the disappointment of rejection, it was as if Prince was saying, 'I got you, my sister.' Listen to a little bit of this. Sometimes I had to reach back to the vinyl days, but he was always there. As I sit here in disbelief and awe of Sir Purple, I say, 'thank you brother. I get it. I got it.' You were more than the music, yet all that you are is in your music.
I now understand why this wound is my personal Purple Heart for you. And, I thank God that you allowed Him to use you to touch hearts and minds all over the world. I'm proud to say, 'I got you too, my brother. I truly got you.' Rest in heavenly peace, my Purple muse.