I’m hurting today. This incredibly heavy grief that I’m feeling right now is one I haven’t felt in about four years. It’s one that I told myself that I would be prepared for next time around. But then again, you never can really prepare for the loss of one of your heroes, can you? This feeling I have is how I felt when Whitney passed. Her death is something I still mourn to this day. When Michael left us, it was devastating, and I was depressed for months. As upsetting as their departures were, there was something always in me that knew they would leave us much sooner than we all wanted them to.
This one is different. There was something in you that made me feel like you were invincible. I thought that there was no way that the universe would be cruel enough to take you away after calling both Whitney and Michael home. There was no way that all three of you would be gone. In all of your glory, all of your glamour, you lived the latter years of your life avoiding the perils that befell your musical brother and sister. You spent them doing what you did best. Performing the songs that made us all fall in love with you. You spent your final moments with us. Not out of obligation, but out of the pure love of your craft. You did everything right. I say that not in judgement of anyone in particular, but in praise of you. And yet here we are yet again. With the same heavy hearts we’ve bore twice before, we reel from your loss, and speak about you in past tense.
When I was asked to pen a tribute to you, I was unsure of what to say. To merely spew facts about your life in an obituary seemed heartless. I could have done a countdown of your best work, but in the few hours that have passed since we got the news, I’ve already seen five of them. The way I figured, was that the best way to pay you tribute was to just say thank you.
Thank you for validating all of the kids who were a little strange. For making us all feel like we were the beautiful ones, just like you were and will always be. Especially us young, black children.
Thank you for showing artists that the music industry is whatever you make of it. You showed us that bowing down and making do with whatever we were given wasn’t optional. You empowered us to OWN our art and be compensated for it fairly.
Thank you for going into any and everything you did with the utmost professionalism. You gave the younger kids something to both fear and aspire to.
Thank you for your ability to appeal to many. You never forgot where you came from, but also refused to be defined by it. You weren’t a woman or a man. You were you, unapologetically. However, you owned and embraced your blackness with open arms, regardless of your appeal to everyone. You were so damn woke, Prince.
Thank you for fashion. For high heeled boots, perfect eyeliner, and for THOSE pants. You know which ones I’m talking about. You were indeed, one Sexy Muthafucka.
Thank you for your sense of humor. Throwing shade never looked so good.
Thank you for music. For the hundreds, upon hundreds of songs you’ve left for us. Even if we don’t hear them all, I know that they all were crafted and molded in love.
Most of all…
Thank you for sharing your life with us. The legacy and impact you’ve left behind will remain on this earth until the end of time.
On behalf of your beautiful ones, the ones that feared to be different, but suffocated at the idea of normality, I thank you, Prince. I thank God for you. I only hope that you received the same love you gave. May you forever rest in power.
With all of my love,
PS: Please hug Michael, Whitney, Natalie, Maurice, David and Vanity, (Denise) for me. Take another one for yourself.