Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince is gone

I've written about Prince here before, lots of times, because I considered him something of a hero, at least to me. I'm not really processing the news of his death very effectively right now; dealing with a combination of shock at his passing and already feeling adrift in the very short time that he's been absent.
I saw him perform live three times. That's as close as I ever came to meeting the guy, but he was still tremendously influential to me.

Over the years, I've encountered a lot of people who didn't understand. "You?? Seriously? Why are you a Prince fan?!?"
He was innovative, imaginative and fiercely, defiantly independent. He did what he wanted to do and didn't allow those who didn't share his vision to hold him back. Things didn't always work out but he refused to let others define what was a success or failure and didn't let the outcome either way restrict him in future endeavors. He believed in himself. A lot of people saw that as undue arrogance, but he had the talent and ability to back it all up. If somebody couldn't or wouldn't participate at his level, they could see their way out and he would do their part himself. He simply refused to deviate from the way he wanted things done for the sake of compromise.

I never dressed (or danced) like him or even know how to play music, but how does anybody who considers themselves in any way to be creative not draw inspiration from someone like that? There are other people like that out there. Not many, but some. Prince was my guy though. He spoke to me through his work. Without following his example, it's safe to say that I never write this blog or publish a book (there's a reason both of those are purple) or ever get up in front of a crowd to tell jokes. He made me want to be better.

I've never needed someone else to write a status update for me on Facebook, but my friend Jim Choquette posted this earlier:
"Prince taught me that it's ok to not conform. Who's going to carry that torch now...
I dont often apologize, but Im feeling extremely humbled today. I can be a real pill at times. If I've ever been a complete dick to you, I'm sorry.
Chances are, it was me - not you. I never meant to cause you any sorrow...."
It was perfect so I copied it and added this:
"Yes, exactly. Same goes for me. Every word of this."
And so now, how does one honor the legacy of someone they considered a leader? Well, JB Ball, another friend, posted the following, also earlier today:
"Don't stop grinding you guys. Don't stop critiquing yourself HONESTLY. Don't be afraid to take chances. I know this message can be perceived as corny but who cares. Do this and you'll be headed in the direction you want." 
I don't even know if this was inspired by the sad events of today but it's really good advice and totally appropriate.


Tara Shrodes said...

Funny. I thought of you immediately when I heard. Sympathies to you (and really all of us) on an incredible loss. Another big part of my past vanishes.

alfredo ramos said...

Great posting Mr. Brooks! I remember how much you loved Prince, yep, those influences we grew up with are vanishing....

Christene Roy said...

I thought of you first,today,also. "Little Red Corvette" will ALWAYS be The.Best.Club.Dance.Song.Ever!

Brent Silverwood said...

Very well said! The non-conformist thing was where we connected in high school and I'd say that fire still burns deep in both of our souls never to be extinguished.