I’m sure all of you have heard now that Prince died. I’m sure that for those of you that it matters, you know what you were doing, where you were, who you were with and how you felt. I was at my job and a string of concerned texts, emails and calls started streaming in because if you know me you Prince was my religion. Not in the sense that I worshiped him. I have a relationship with God even if I stay making mistakes but on this earthly plane Prince was who I wanted to be when I grew up. While I seriously hate the term unapologetically Black as it implies the vast majority of Black people do apologize for our skin tone, Prince was all out of fucks to give if you didn’t want to appreciate his Blackness. I kinda idolized him for that fact alone. A lighter hued Black man rocking heels and an assortment of seriously Black hair styles for four decades was something kind of stellar.
But that wasn’t it. He just was. If he was uncomfortable in his skin it never shown long. He evolved and we journeyed with him from Bambi to Ain’t About 2 Stop. I’ll admit to not always appreciating a release in the moment cause he was several light years away from where I was but I swear when you met him where he was something magical happened. I’m not going to repeat my concert stalking story here. I won’t wax poetically about how nothing on this earth could ever compare to being at a Prince concert with all the other folks who for a few hours could figure the mundane nature of our lives and bask in the once in a lifetime experience that it was to be with Prince Rogers Nelson while he was doing what he loved. All I can say right now is that for three days I’ve felt a mixture of sadness, hope, happiness that I can legitimately speak to my love of him with people that will understand and a strong desire to not break down and start crying because once I started I wasn’t sure when and if it would stop.
I’ve been listening to my ridiculously large Prince collection since I heard, in the car, the gym, my office. I’ve been grateful that SiriusXM just shut down a station this weekend and it’s been blasting Prince nonstop. It’s healing and painful at the same time. There will never be another Prince. Which in a way is fitting because I am not sure if the world is ready for that but on the other hand generations of humans will never get to see him smirk as he swings his hips in a way no man should be able to pull off while still maintaining massive swag and sex appeal. They will never get to experience his sense of humor and stupid deep voice before it moved into that haunting falsetto. For them he will just become one of the inspirations of their favorite processed pop artists and they will never be able to fully understand what he did and what he meant to those that loved him. Even those that just loved him for a time period–the Purple Rain crew, those who thought that Under the Cherry Moon was camp personified, those who only knew he because he dueted with she who will never be named or guest starred on New Girl. They will know him through stories that their current crushes share but most will never feel the crush that has been sitting on my chest for the last 72 hours.
Most of the time in situations like this I need to be hurt. The pain pushes me through the grief. It makes me process that life is fleeting and that unfortunately this is just part of the status quo. But just like when my father died I’m swinging back and forth between ridiculously grateful to have had that person in my life to borderline miserable and I really just want to sleep but life won’t let me do that right now. I keep choking back tears and wondering what the hell happened that no one could have prevented this but one. And then just like my dad I realized there’s nothing you can do when your time is up. My dad would have been 70 this year, Prince would have been 58. I am going to try wake up every morning until their birthdays (both the first week of June) and just try to be grateful that they were able to be the kind of men I admired and that impacted their worlds in the best way they know how. I have things planned outside of that which will require me to adult during that time no matter how much I don’t want to do it. I’m going to rub my tattoo and keep listening to my music.