By now you all have heard that yesterday, the world lost one of the preeminent artists of our time.
Prince is gone.
This was the only brother I know that practically OWNED a color! Seriously, all the causes in the world have adopted colors (pink means what? Red ribbons mean what? That yellow biker is who?), but Prince did so much with purple it’s like it was too risky to use!
To say Prince was an Icon may be a serious understatement. He BECAME creativity. So much so that for 7 years, we accepted him having an unpronounceable name, represented only by a symbol that isn’t even on the computer keyboard!
And while I loved his music, as many of you do, there are two thoughts about Prince that have stuck with me these last 24 hours: his philanthropy (listen to the account by Van Jones), and his LONG view.
Prince didn’t just leave us with music, he also left us with a blueprint for longevity through his work. He was honest about who he was, and what he thought needed to be his contribution to the day, despite what anyone else was doing. He was honest and vulnerable, which to me is real strength.
That kind of bravery is what we as individuals should aspire to, as well as what we should support our institutions to achieve.
What should be the contribution of Alcorn, Jackson State, Howard, Hampton, FAMU or Tennessee State, despite what PWIs are doing? What should be the guiding principles in our research? What conversations should alumni be writing in the next novel? What conversations should we be having in public and again at our dinner tables?
It strikes me that Prince worked like a man with a 100 year plan. He has a legacy that was created through honesty, not just opportunity.
I’d like to see the same for our HBCUs and for our families.
Continue to LEAD, and do the necessary work to build a future that is inclusive of our voices and our visions. Let YOUR true voice be heard. Make a joyful noise, and share it with the world.
Thank you, Prince… for sharing your truth with us. And thank YOU for allowing me to share this conversation.