Yesterday, the world turned purple. Despite a health scare last week that put his millions of fans on edge, the news of Prince's death at the all-too-young age of 57 came as a shock on Thursday morning. In his hometown of Minneapolis, legendary club First Avenue, known locally as "The House That Prince Built," hosted an all-night dance party that poured out into the streets.
Here in Dallas, the Omni Hotel lit up in Prince's royal color, while his music took over the airwaves of local radio stations. And Erykah Badu, a close friend and collaborator of the Purple One, paid her own tribute with a heartfelt poem on Facebook.
"You've been here all my life," Badu wrote in the post, in which she listed off a series of different memories of their interactions over the years and reflected on what Prince and his music has meant to her. "And You will live F O R E V E R in my cells."
Even putting aside the details of their friendship, the two have always had a lot in common. Both have been iconoclasts who play their own rules, coming in and out of the public as they see fit. And they've also shared a knack for self-promotion and surprise releases that few other artists could match.
No doubt that all had something to do with the influence Prince had on a young Badu — even in elementary school. "The time you sang 'I wanna be your lover' on the 3rd grade talent show wearing a swim top and the teachers cut you short because it was 'inappropriate,'" she wrote in her tribute on Thursday night.
The two eventually became friends, and many of her memories in the post involved the two working together: recording "Today (Earth Song)" for the 2001 compilation Red Star Sounds at Prince's home recording studio, Paisley Park, where he was discovered dead yesterday; having Prince play rhythm guitar as she performed during one of his shows at Paisley that same year; and having Prince play at her "club in the hood of South Dallas," the Forest Theater, "and play for 4 hours into the night" in 2004.
But many of Badu's memories painted a picture, both touching and funny, of their offstage interactions. "The time Prince 'evolved' and wouldn't sign yo mama's 'Dirty Mind' album cover cause he said he wasn't into that no mo and yo mama told him, 'well you shouldn't have made it then' and you were embarrassed," she wrote, in one particularly amusing anecdote.
Badu ended her post by quoting one of Prince's songs. "Sometimes it snows in April?" she asked. In Minneapolis it does, anyway. Fittingly, it rained there yesterday, and late in the day a rainbow appeared over Paisley Park. Prince's fans in Dallas got their own rainbow last night, and it was all thanks to Badu.
Her post, in full:
That time Prince was your rhythm guitarist
then sent you the picture.
The time Prince was so gracious to come to your club in the hood of South Dallas and play for 4 hours into the night...
The time you recorded "Today -the earth song"
at Paisley Park.
All the times y'all shot pool and argued over religion.
The time Prince got in your Lemo to tell you that 'World Wide Underground ' wasn't finished yet and you 'felt a way'. Lol
The time Prince "evolved " and wouldn't sign yo mama's 'Dirty Mind' album cover cause he said he wasn't into that no mo and yo mama told him
"well you shouldn't have made it then" and you were embarrassed.
The time Prince had a "swear jar" and you just put a 20 dollar bill in it when you walk in.
The time Prince and Larry Grahm had you cornered in a Jehova's Witness...well, witness session.
The time you presented Prince with the ICON Billboard AWARD with 20 (Janell Monáe).
The time you sang "I wanna be your lover" on the 3rd grade talent show wearing a swim top and the teachers cut you short because it was "inappropriate".
The moment you remember how much he means to you...
You've been here all my life .
And You will live F O R E V E R in my cells.
Sometimes it snows in April?