From sorrow to celebration: Harlem celebrates the life and music of Prince
Exactly one week ago, I learned of the untimely death of the music icon, Prince.
When I first heard the news, I was devastated like millions of his fans around the world. I took his death exceptionally hard. Prince always seemed larger than life to me - almost invincible. It was a reminder that life is fragile. You can't take it for granted and that you must live your legacy. That's exactly what Prince did. He left such an impact on the world that his life and music is celebrated all over the world. I have a friend from the UK who said he listened to Prince's Purple Rain album during his childhood. That's just one example of how much of an influence his music had on the world.
My sadness turned to joy when I stopped by the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Friday, April 22nd (the day after his death). There was a spirit of love in the air. With Prince's music blasting through the speakers, there was nothing but sheer bliss that was felt by all. We sang and danced to all his greatest hits. There were large posters with Prince's image to sign. They were littered with various signatures from fans from all over the world. It was a beautiful site.
The celebration continued on Monday, April 25th on 125th Street, when the Harlem community presented a star-studded concert at the Plaza at the State Office Building on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. at 125th from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm. It was a grandiose affair with many DJs from Hot 97 and WBLS, local politicians and thousands of fans. It was a site to behold.
One of the highlights for me was a special performance by R&B Diva, Melissa Morgan who sang her hit (written by Prince), "Do Me, Baby!" She did not disappoint!! She led the crowd with a sing-a-long and then she took the song to another level when she deviated from the crowd with her ad lib. She was incredible.
Another great highlight, Cake Man Raven presented his red-velvet Prince cake (an exact replica of Prince's famous purple guitar). It was spectacular and delicious at the same time! It was a pleasant surprise when he served us the cake at the end of the program!!
I met so many great people during the concert who was celebrating Prince which made the whole experience even more enriching! I even met a Prince impersonator who embodied Prince's spirit and his dance moves!
After the concert, we were treated to various awesome performances of Prince at various stages of his career on a Jumbotron on the side of the concert area. It allowed the audience to see his greatness and what he brought the world. We danced and sang along as Prince wowed us from the big screen. It was a perfect way to end what was a beautiful affair.
Wednesday night (April 27th), I was thrilled to see the movie, Purple Rain on the big screen. It was incredible and the music really filled my soul. After the movie, we all applauded and cheered at it's brilliance. It was so wonderful.
I am full now and my sorrow has turned to gratitude that we were blessed with such a great soul who touched the world with his love and music. Prince once said in an interview with Larry King that he would describe his music as "inspirational." It truly was and still is inspirational. He expressed our humanity - the good, the bad, the ugly and the beauty of life. What an incredible journey he had and that he expressed in his music. I am so grateful that we can still hear his journey.
May he forever, Rest in Peace!