“There’s a few legends left and he was one of them…The mural helps with the grieving process.” – Rock Martinez, artist of mural below located at 26th St and Hennepin Ave in Minneapolis. (Star Tribune)
There has never been any public figure so dearly beloved by Minnesotans as Prince. The shocking news of his death last week has brought my hometown to its knees, raining purple tears and bursting into all night dance celebrations in remembrance of the enigmatic super star that put our amazing state on the world map.
Since his death, thousands of Minnesotans have been flocking to Prince’s fortress Paisley Park in the western suburb of Chanhassen to what has been called “Ground Zero” for remembering and honoring Prince. All night dance parties have continued outside the famous First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis where he first found his fame in the early 80s playing at the club and filmed much of his 1984 hit movie “Purple Rain”.
A sea of purple yesterday at Paisley Park.
As a born and bred Minnesotan, his loss and the ongoing celebration of his remembrance has been stunning. I have never in all my years living here witnessed anything like it. Even our bridges and buildings downtown glow at night in purple light, and it feels like our entire town has been raining purple.
Yesterday, as a family we drove out from our home in Minneapolis, twenty minutes west to Paisley Park to pay our respects for an artist beloved by all. I hadn’t had time to fully process his passing and as a girl who grew up in the 80s literally ten minutes away from his studio Paisley Park, I wanted to say goodbye. I wanted to say goodbye to my youth, to the magic of the 80s, to dancing all night long like it would never ever end. To permed hair, blue eyeshadow and baggy jeans and shirts with shoulder pads. My youth.
I will never forget my first adventures living aboard in my early twenties. Everyone would ask where was I from. I’d reply Minnesota and they would give me a confused look. Then I’d swiftly respond, ” You know, Minnesota is between Canada and Chicago and home of Prince”. The moment I said Prince, Minnesota was on the map.
Despite all his incredible fame and success, Prince never left Minnesota and continued to call it his home. He built his massive recording complex Paisley Park, in the once cornfields of Chanhassen and continued playing concerts there and at First Avenue. He supported the local community and was an inspiration to the black youth living in continual crime and poverty that anything is possible if you put your mind and heart to it. You can escape it and rise above.
Rest in Peace Prince. May your purple reign never leave. You will be missed.