“How can I put this in a way so as not to offend or unnerve?”
I’ve been trying these past weeks to corral my thoughts into some semblance of order so that I could write a fitting tribute to the man who changed everything for this small town Indiana girl. I have finally come to the conclusion that I will never be able to write a fitting tribute: mere words cannot express the gratitude I have for The Man and his music, nor can they adequately express the profound sadness that now permeates my soul.
Prince’s music has been a part of my life for 35 years – sometimes front and center, sometimes on the fringe, but always present nonetheless. This won’t change now that he’s gone. What changes is that there will be no more surprises. No more genius. No more genre-busting, gender-bending beauty. These are the things for which I am grieving.
The early 1980s was a strange, sometimes terrifying, time in this country: the threat of nuclear annihilation hung over all of us; the “gay cancer” (later identified as HIV/AIDS) began stealing lives; it was ok for white folks and black folks to be friends but not lovers; freedom of expression was fine – so long as you conformed.
And then comes along this little purple dynamo. Is he black or white? Oh, that doesn’t matter anymore. Is he straight or gay? Oh, that doesn’t matter anymore either. Are those women’s clothes he’s wearing? Maybe – but doesn’t it look great on him!? Is he singing about s-e-x?? YES – and isn’t it awesome!?
For those of us coming of age at this time, Prince changed everything. No longer did our parents’ take on society and its norms matter to us. He taught us to be confident in who we are and to find our happiness within ourselves. He showed us that celebrities aren’t all train wrecks by sharing his public persona with us but keeping his privacy just that: private. He proved that eccentricity isn’t always a bad thing. He paved his own way and when he took missteps, he corrected course and kept moving forward. He evolved right before our eyes.
It isn’t fair that he was taken so soon. He had so much more music to create, so many more protégés to mentor, so many more envelopes to push, so many more barriers to break down, so much more love to give. I have no idea why God has decided that the world can go on without Prince in it. Perhaps it is simply that there is something about to happen in this world that Prince shouldn’t have to endure and that removing him from our midst saved him from experiencing a pain beyond imagining. I am eternally grateful that God blessed us with him and his music and compelled him to share his magnificent talent with us.
I wish I had had the opportunity to tell him how much I appreciate him. His influence is ever-present and I will do my best to preserve his legacy of creativity, inclusiveness, and love. Although I know I will heal, there will always be a scar where my heart was rent in two on April 21, 2016.
Prince is one of a kind. There will never be another like him. No other man will ever sound like him. No other man will ever create like him. No other man will ever touch us like him.
And no other man will ever – EVER – have an ass that fine.
© 2016 Kim Rodman