“Prince gone? Damn,” read my text, after a friend alerted me to the passing of the rock star multi-instrumentalist composer and cultural beacon. “Prince Nelson…the black rock god??? Am I hearing you right?” enquired our Associate Editor MR BONGANI MADONDO. “Yup” was all I could muster. “Whaaaaaaat? When, why?” I sent him the Rolling Stone report, “Prince Dead at 57” read the headline. “Am fucking gutted!” he resigned, well over an hour later. We are indeed all gutted. What follows is Mr Madondo’s curt, impromptu tribute. – Mr Siphiwe Mpye, Editor.
Prince’s flesh and bones are dead. Prince lives! Prince is Dead? Rock ‘n Roll as we knew it in that way is Dead! Long live, The Artist. Time for prayer. For real.
Somehow, some people’s deaths or births just evoke memories and inspire us to revisit the notion of friendship. When I heard of Prince’s death, I instinctively thought of my friends/non-blood family. I thought of Greg Tate and Sharon Xoshito Washington. I thought of Nakhane Mavuso, aka Nakhane Toure’. I also thought of the week MJ left: me walking the streets of Harlem at 2am. A stranger in the “village”.
So many people over so many decades have written with complex depth – some rubbish – on Prince. His art was epochal and will remain so. But I’m specifically grateful for the writer Toure’s screeds on Prince. The way he wrote about him might not have been the most definitive, but for me, they shone a light deep, deep onto that complex purple genius to render him ‘holy’ human. The long profile in which Prince played hoops with Toure in high heels; the Harvard lectures compiled into ‘ I Would Die 4U’; the erotic sermons the writer put out in that slim volume. Thank you, thank you.