Artists, Political Figures Respond to the Death of Legendary Pop Artist Prince
Prince, the legendary pop artist known for such hits as “Purple Rain,” has died at the age of 57. According to The Associated Press, the musician died at his home in suburban Minneapolis. This news follows last week’s reports that the singer was hospitalized with a severe bout of flu.
“The seven-time Grammy winner sold more than 100 million albums in his lifetime, and won an Oscar in 1985 for Best Original Song Score for Purple Rain. Prince was also famously a workaholic and music-obsessive,” writes The Atlantic.
Known for his out-there music and fashion, Prince was less famous for his seemingly conservative political leanings. He was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness and “proselytize[d] door-to-door.” A 2008 New Yorker interview portrayed the artist as anti-gay marriage, although Prince was apparently furious at the publication for misquoting him. “What His Purpleness actually did was gesture to the Bible and said he follows what it teaches, referring mainly to the parts about loving everyone and refraining from judgment,” stated his representatives at the time. In the article, Prince also expressed misgivings over both political parties:
“So here’s how it is: you’ve got the Republicans, and basically they want to live according to this.” He pointed to a Bible. “But there’s the problem of interpretation, and you’ve got some churches, some people, basically doing things and saying it comes from here, but it doesn’t. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got blue, you’ve got the Democrats, and they’re, like, ‘You can do whatever you want.’ Gay marriage, whatever. But neither of them is right.’ ”
On the other hand, the NAACP awarded Prince the NAACP Vanguard Award in 2005, which goes to people who strive to increase awareness of social justice issues. The artist’s work on racial issues became more prominent when, in 2015, he wrote a song titled “Baltimore” in remembrance of Freddie Gray, and later played a “Rally 4 Peace” concert in the city:
“Wear something gray,” his promotional materials asked of patrons—in remembrance of Freddie Gray, who died from severe spinal injuries after his arrest last month. On the concert poster, an illustration showed Prince wearing it, too. …
“The system is broken,” he shouted to the crowd at the Royal Farms Area. “It’s up to you young folks to fix it.”
Filmmaker and activist Spike Lee has organized an event to celebrate Prince’s life in Brooklyn on Thursday night. “Wear something purple,” Lee said.
The NAACP released a statement mourning Prince, saying he “used his prodigious songwriting talents to preach messages of love, acceptance, and pride.”
As news of Prince’s death broke, various political and artistic figures expressed their sentiments over Twitter:
“‘A strong spirit transcends rules,’ Prince once said—and nobody’s spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative.” —President Obama
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 21, 2016
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called Life…”
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) April 21, 2016
I am really not right over this. RIP #Prince this is devastating.
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) April 21, 2016
Thank you Prince. All my thoughts & prayers are with all your loved ones. https://t.co/JT52sKlJBJ
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) April 21, 2016
— Black Lives MPLS (@BlackLivesMpls) April 21, 2016
No matter his political leanings, the world has lost a passionate, creative legend.
–Posted by Emma Niles’TIS THE REASON…
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