Prince Rogers Nelson

I don’t think I’ve been touched by reading posts and seeing photos as much as I have today. It’s been an unusual and remarkable day of empathy.

The amount of people Prince touched is unquestionable.

Like most folk, I knew his music before I knew his name. Above and beyond any other form of entertainment that my friends and I participated in as very young teens, roller skating was number one. And the coolest, hippest spot in east San Jose, was Skatetown. It’s where I heard “I Wanna Be Your Lover” for the first time.

While Cal-Skaters in Milpitas, and Aloha skaters in south San Jose were skating to the The Knack’s “My Sharona,” we were skating to Prince! From the DJ who spun from above in a UFO-shaped booth, to the snack bar, to the polished and uneven rink floor, Prince had our attention, and he’s kept it ever since.

Every person I know, who saw Prince live, says he is the best performer they’ve ever seen. My middle daughter, Jada, who has yet to go to her first concert, can at least say that she heard his music from within the cozy confines of her mother’s stomach.

Prince believed that his audiences were musically-sophisticated and each time he took the stage, he tried to ensure that his performance reflected that.

When I remember Prince, I think of the posters, buttons, and shirts that adorned girls’ bedrooms and bodies. But most of all, I remember the music.

While I was taking two steps back the first time I saw Prince climb out of a tub in the video for “When Doves Cry,” just about every girl I knew was taking two steps forward. He was sexy as hell, and everyone knew it.

Prince Roger Nelson was a beautiful one. His good friend, Larry Graham, whose best known song, “One In a Million” says Prince was even more than that.

In 1984, at the peak of the success of Purple Rain, I illustrated a very small color portrait in art class of Prince in his trademark dark round lenses. I gave it (unfinished) to a classmate who was crazy about him.

Prince’s memoir, The Beautiful Ones was scheduled for release next year. It will now remain unfinished.

Prince passed in his hamlet, so I‘ll borrow words from Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name to bid adieu:

Good night sweet Prince.

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