By Harry Colbert, Jr.
Managing Editor –
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year … it’s hard to believe it happened at all … it’s hard to believe he’s gone.
A year later and the music world is still in mourning over the loss of Prince Rogers Nelson. That loss is most felt in his hometown of Minneapolis and its surrounding communities. Around the world people miss the music. Here we miss the man. Here the loss was personal.
The connections are endless. At the Minneapolis Urban League there’s Linda Anderson, executive secretary to the Office of the President, who was a longtime friend and early bandmate of Prince, playing keyboards and drums. There’s Paul Peterson who you can catch from time-to-time performing at the Dakota Jazz Club who was a member of Prince’s The Family band. There’s Bro. Jules over at KMOJ. Jules was the exclusive DJ for Prince for quite some time. More importantly, he was his friend. Of course there’s Jellybean Johnson of The Time and Morris Day and The Time. Some of the Minnesota musical acts that have a direct lineage to Prince include The Time, Mint Condition, King, Mazarati, Alexander O’Neal, #MPLS (and Jesse Larson, currently on “The Voice”), Sounds of Blackness, Dr. Mambo’s Combo (Michael Bland), DJs Dudley D and Fundraiser and so many more.
Beyond those in the industry, people such as Sharon Smith-Akinsanya, founder, People of Color Career Fair and former regional development director of the United Negro College Fund and Anthony Newby, executive director of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) once knew Prince by the title of boss. There seems to be an infinite number of former schoolmates who attended Minneapolis Central High School with his royal badness.
Soon after that rainy Thursday of April 21 in 2016 the benevolence of Prince came to light with person after person sharing stories of Prince’s charity. He didn’t want it publicized … he just wanted to spread good will. Beyond the celebrity, that’s who Prince really was. He was kind. He was funny. He was warm. He was a brilliant. He was as regal and as royal as his name suggested.
And he is missed … oh so missed.
Yes, Michael Jackson was king, and James Brown was the godfather … but Prince was the greatest. And he will forever be missed.
Events commemorating the anniversary of Prince
Several events are taking place around town to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Prince’s death. The family of Prince is hosting a multi-day concert, Celebration 2017, at Paisley Park in Chanhassen. The event takes place Thursday through Sunday and features The Revolution, Morris Day and The Time, New Power Generation, Liv Warfield, Shelby J and 3rdEyeGirl. Tickets are $549 for the only remaining set of shows.
First Avenue is hosting dance parties on Friday and Saturday with Friday’s 18-plus event taking place inside the Mainroom at 9 p.m. and Saturday’s event – an all ages outdoor affair – taking place from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Tickets for Friday’s event are $10 and $15. Saturday’s event is sold out.
Thee Urbane Life is hosting Thee Beautiful Ones on Saturday at Five Event Center, 2917 Bryant Ave. S. in Uptown, featuring DJ Chuck Chizzle and DJ Fundraiser (who spun for Prince) spinning Prince and Prince inspired music. Admission is $15 and $20 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Billingsley School of Music and Art (BSOMA).
Sunday G Sharp and the Bizne$$ presents the Purple Party at Lee’s Liquor Lounge, 101 Glenwood Ave., Minneapolis. The band will be playing songs either written or performed by Prince.