By Courtni Kenyon-George
“As a musician, Prince was aspirational. He played everything, and played it well. He was also the Patron Saint of ‘I do what I want.’ He was a true original; the poster child of self-actualization. He made it not only okay to be unabashedly weird, he made it fabulous. That message, for a lot of us, was revolutionary. My heart breaks today for the loss of Prince. He was arguably one of the greatest musicians and artists of all time. The world is a little less funky and fabulous today, and forevermore.” – Emily Parker
“The song ‘I Would Die For You’ came out in ‘84 or ‘85…I’d just had my baby daughter. I was a college student, and I had attempted to make a marriage with her father work, and it wasn’t working. I remember dancing with her in my arms. Not even dancing, just kind of that bobbing and swaying that you do with babies. I sang to her “you…I would die for you…” She was the reason I could go on. That song spoke for me at that time, when I was unable to speak. I had major postnatal depression and PTSD from events of the previous year, and so that song really spoke to me. It was so powerful and meaningful. I’m so sad that he’s gone. He spoke to – speaks to – those of us who can’t speak for ourselves.” – Julia Park Tracey
“In Shonda Rimes’ book, The Year of Yes, she has an acronym ‘FOD.’ First. Only. Different. That was Prince. He was First, Only, Different. And I would add ‘and ever will be.’ There are so many crystal moments in my life that are tied to Prince and his music. More than I ever realized until today. I’m not a musician, but I am a creative person. My favorite song of all time by him was ‘Starfish and Coffee.’ I remember when it came out, and I remember sitting in the basement of my high school with the other freaks, working on the school paper, and it was like, our theme song. It was permission to be who we were. There won’t be another one like him. He was a total original, and a complete weirdo, and it’s one of the things that I just really loved about him. He was a genius.” – Nanea Hoffman
Most of my childhood had its own soundtrack. Play any classic rock or funk song and it transports me back to a specific memory — mostly of my parents, dancing, singing and laughing. When you are poor, the happiest memories are of just being together.
Music was the happy in my happy family. Music was family. Prince was family.
“Little Red Corvette” was the first Prince song that I remember. I was around eight years old, sitting in the back of my parents’ Ford LTD. My dad had a way of turning his surroundings into a concert. No matter where we were or who was around, he would be the One Man Band. Lead vocalist, air guitar, drums. At age eight, my dad was my hero.
“Listen to this! This is a classic!” my dad exclaimed, peering over his broad shoulder at me in the back seat. Before I knew it, we were surrounded by thousands of screaming fans, and my dad, well–he was Prince. At eight years old, I didn’t appreciate the man on the radio. I had no idea who he was or exactly how much of a musical influence he had already had on me.
At age 12, “Diamonds and Pearls” was my favorite Prince song. This time, I was the one who introduced it to my dad. I had already listened to it on the cassette tape that I had recorded from the radio at least 50 times, and this time, I was the One Girl Band. I don’t think he appreciated the song like I did, but I think he enjoyed the effort I put into my performance. I remember thinking at 12, that even though I loved his music, I thought he was odd. Interestingly odd. No fear of judgment. No worries about public opinion.
He was Prince. You either loved him or you did not. Prince loved Prince. How revolutionary is that; to unashamedly love oneself? Revolutionary and honest–and so beautiful.
Prince lived his life the way I not only aspire to live my own life, but also the way my parents taught me to live, and how I now teach my children to live–to truly embrace the interestingly odd human inside of you.
I tried to pick a song that is my all-time favorite Prince tune and I just can’t. I can’t, because each song is unique and beautiful. Just like him. I love him the most for that. I didn’t expect, when I began to write this, that losing him would be so emotional for me.
Thank you Prince, for being a part of my family. To say that you were the one of the greatest is an understatement. To say you were one of my favorite humans on the planet is the truth. The world will never be the same now. There will never be another you and I am so thankful that at least you have left us the music to remember you by.