This is a reblog of mine from an old blogpost called ‘Prince Among Men’. I was listening to prince tonight & all the feelings came flooding back realising this genius is gone.
For you prince
By Ayak Thiik
A Prince among men
The time is 7:23pm GMT on Thursday 21st of April & it’s a rare clear sunny day in London. I’m on the phone with a friend, as I get the devastating news that the purple one & rock & roll hall of famer Prince Rogers Nelson has departed this world.
At first I’m hit by a wall of shock, then as the hours pass I find myself traversing the emotional stages of the Kübler-Ross model of grief.
The Kübler-Ross model describes a series of emotional stages experienced by survivors of death. The five stages being, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I haven’t quite reached the acceptance part, however I find myself walking the line between anger, being bummed out & every time I listen to a record, denial & bargaining.
You see, I’m a songwriter….To be honest, I feel pretty stupid even saying that in context & by comparison. However I remember sometime in 1990 being 7 years old (Im still moisturised & don’t look it ) watching the chart show on channel 3 (ITV). My eyes are glued to the television, watching a music video that would forever change my reality.
I remember this bald headed white lady climbing the steps to what looked like a grave yard, & the scene cutting away to a beauty shot & single tear rolling down her face. Not taking away from Sinead O’ Connors voice & delivery, but it was the song she sang that hit me so hard & the emotion that touched my 7 year old heart. Even at a young age I was able to understand the language of loss so eloquently written by Prince.
It was the first time I realised that other people could write for singers & it was then I realised I wanted to write songs.
We didn’t have much money growing up, but we had music & to be honest, in my younger days I was definitely more of a Michael Jackson fan. You see I grew up in a conservative Christian South Sudanese household & Michael was more palatable for my parents. However I discovered Prince through the music he wrote for others, then finally the music he performed & nothing was the same.
My greatest discovery was that he was a multi-instrumentalist, who wrote & sang the kind of songs that could shake the very foundations of your soul. Prince disturbed my ideas of gender & sexuality long before any current discussion, while maintaining a fierce sense of self. It never felt contrived, or anything other than organic.The walk, the stage presence, the vocal register, the musicality that took you from his fullest baritone to the silkiest falsetto. I can’t even stop the tears as I write this. What a loss, but at least I can say, although I wasn’t alive to witness hendrix, I was alive to see Prince!
They say a measure of a person is how they deal with adversity & perhaps one of the greatest acts of self preservation during adversity (from a professional stand point at least) had to be the poise Prince walked with during his battle with his label Warner bros. records. The topic of Slavery & its abolishion was a concept I was just becoming familiar with, & to see him wear the word ‘slave’ was powerful to me. Even more so, all the years later & working in the music industry, understanding what turmoil he must have faced, to sell so many records, attain that level of sucess & not even own his music. Let alone the name he was given at birth. What balls!!
To me, this is what made him iconic. This is why he holds a place next to the Sam Cookes & Michael Jacksons. Black artists that literally gave blood sweat & tears for their art, yet possessed a business savvy they tried to teach toward the end of their all too short lives. As the story of one of greatest musicians to ever live, unfolds…we learn more of the man he was off stage & It pains me to hear of what a selfless & charitable human being he was. As told by his friend & lawyer Van Jones.
Prince, I thank you for the music, for your fearlessness, your humanity & even the shade (lets be honest he threw some epic shade). I thank you for leading by example, I am forever blessed & changed to have lived whilst you lived. Rest in eternal peace.
My top 10 Prince songs (My top 10 so no shade please!)
1.The beautiful ones
3.When doves cry
4.The most beautiful girl in the world
6.Diamonds & Pearls
10.If I was your girlfriend
*Click the link to make a donation to Yes we code an inititive started by Prince to make learning code available to underprivileged children