My mom was the huge Prince fan in my family. I remember when I was a girl and she went to see Purple Rain when it first came out. It was one of the few movies I remember her seeing that I wasn’t allowed to see because I was under age. When I was an adolescent I was kind of a prude about sex in music and I looked down my nose at music like “Like a Virgin” by Madonna, “Let’s Get Ill” by LL Cool J and “I Want Your Sex” by George Michael. They all made me uncomfortable.But the first time I saw Prince perform I was blown away and continue to have that experience watching him to this day.
I was watching “Solid Gold” the way I did every weekend when Prince was introduced. It was May of 1983. There was darkness and when the lights came on there was Prince. What was Prince? He started into one his biggest hits ever, “Little Red Corvette,” quiet and still and then he broke out into yelping and dancing and splits and tricks with the mic stand I had never seen before. He ended as quiet and still as he began and the lights came down and it was dark again before the audience burst into applause. And I just sat there in awe. What was that hairstyle? Was he Puerto Rican? What was he? What was that? His mystique drew me in and has never stopped since.
The first time my mother took my brother and I to Trinidad in the 80s, I remember listening to her “Purple Rain” soundtrack on cassette over and over again to fight off my homesickness. I still hadn’t even seen the film at that point and I was already so attached to every track on that album, it was pretty ridiculous. “Darling Nikki” was a foray into a sexuality I did not find uncomfortable at all. Go figure. I mean there she was masturbating in a hotel lobby with a magazine. How that went down easier than “Like a Virgin touched for the very first time,” I cannot tell you. LOL! Needless to say I became a huge fan of Madonna, George Michael and LL Cool J as I got older but none of them have been able to outlast Prince’s place in my heart. It’s hard for me to be objective about Prince. My BFF and I share a very similarly diehard love for him that I believe has also informed the bonds of our long friendship. There are also certain Prince albums that hold within them seminal moments of my coming of age so much so that at one time, just listening to tracks from the Symbol album or the soundtrack to “Under the Cherry Moon” could trigger memories that were transcendent, sweet, painful and melancholy all at once.
I saw Prince perform for the first time ever a few years ago with my best friend in 2011. It was like a great big love reunion with someone you’ve never met before but have loved for so long. It was amaze-balls. You could feel in the energy all around that many of the serious day one fans were there. We would have stayed with him until daybreak.That night I bought tickets to see him again at MSG with my husband! I am not a big concert goer at all but I swear I lost my mind after seeing him for the first time that night. I had to see him again.
His performance on SNL this past Saturday brought part of that feeling back but with something new. Prince gets older as all of us do but his spirit, his dedication to his craft and the evolution of his talent is beyond my words to describe because I can’t be objective when it comes to Prince. How is it possible for someone to be around that long and still manage to have tricks up his sleeve no one has seen before? I’m not saying that I’ve loved everything Prince has ever done. And I’m aware he was a Grade A asshole during some of the most formidable times of his early rise to fame. But I’ve never been bored by him. I’m always curious to see what he will do next. I love the way he seamlessly blends, interprets and incorporates a love of spirituality and sex in his music. I love his personal style and his love of play. He’s also one of the most disciplined Gemini I know and I still hope to be like him when I grow up. LOL!