Our local independent theater was showing The Purple Rain today. Now, I feel the profound loss of Prince. The Purple Rain made you realize how talented Prince Nelson Rodgers was, and there will never be another Prince Nelson Rogers—like there will never be another Truman Capote.
All the viewers in the theatre had a true appreciation for Prince. When I sat down among a small section of others, we shared our memories about listening to Prince’s music and seeing his performances. One lady said that I am sure that we would regret seeing him live for those of us who have never seen him live. . However, I regret that it took his death for me to notice how truly a genius he was. My appreciation for Prince has grown since my afternoon viewing of The Purple Rain.
For those who have seen The Purple Rain, it is about this musician, The Kid. The Kid and his band, Revolution, play at this famous club in Minneapolis called First Avenue. The Kid isn’t bringing down the house like he used to, and the club owner wants more lucrative acts. The Kid meets Apollonia who wants to become a superstar. Apollonia and The Kid start hanging out, and later, they become intimate. Apollonia wants The Kid to help her with her career; however, The Kid has some serious home issues. His father is physically and emotionally abusive towards his wife and The Kid’s Mom. The Kid’s father is severely depressed and doesn’t think that he is a good husband and father, so he becomes quite controlling of his wife…and to extent, his son.
The Kid’s parents issues spilled over The Kid. The Kid hits Apollonia when he finds out that she wants to join the girl’s group that Morris Day has created. This makes The Kid feel abandoned and shows that he doesn’t trust Apollonia. As the movie goes further, viewers find out that The Kid suffers from severe trust issues because of his family home life. Even when his bandmates want him to listen to their demo tape of their music, he refuses to until his father attempts suicide. After The Kid’s father’s suicide attempt, he goes on a rampage in the family pantry, and he knocks over and starting tearing through music sheets. He stops himself and realizes that the music sheets belong to his father. His father tells him in a prior scene that he doesn’t write music but keeps it in his head. Yet, his father lies because The Kid discovers that his father does know how to write music and has written a lot of it. He just stored somewhere and didn’t think that he was good enough to make it.
The Kid’s attitude turns around after finding his father’s music sheets and beginning to use the music that his bandmates left him. In the final scene, The Kid and the Revolutions perform “Purple Rain.” It is a beautiful ballad that touches everyone in the room and moves them to sway their hands up. After the song, The Kid runs out of the club and is about to leave because he doesn’t think the audience receives the song and his performance well. Yet, they are cheering, and he goes back in, and Apollonia sees him and smiles…and whispers in his ear (I think congratulations or I love you…). Anyway, he goes back on stage with the band and performs two more songs.
The film showcases a 26/27 year old Prince. In the film, the club owner tells The Kid that he is doing songs for himself and not for others which will not make him successful. This is commentary is a reflection on Prince. Prince was not a commercial artist. He was truly an artist and created and crafted music that he enjoyed listening to—that wasn’t much of during the time he grew up in. Prince is a pioneer and innovator. He was able to design a path that other artists could walk down and see what kind of music wasn’t there. A few decades ago, Toni Morrison expresses that one of the main reasons she started writing is because the books that she writers weren’t written. Prince created music that didn’t exist. Each decade of his career, he redefined by creating bodies of music that spoke to him. The beauty of his work also just happened to speak to many legions of fans like me.
Prince was himself, and we saw glimpses of that today in Purple Rain. Yes, he played a character, The Kid, but the truth that spoke is that pure artistry is about speaking your truth and how you see it by expressing it through a form of art. Through The Kid, Prince is able to express that music is the only pure love that The Kid has. Music doesn’t talk back to him, but it speaks to him…and by using it in crafting “The Purple Rain,” The Kid is able to express how life should be and how he wants it to be.
Prince wasn’t a commercial producer. He was an artistic innovator. He was a genius chasing after the high of music. When the music called, Prince responded in such a majestic manner—that his art truly shined and let us realized that gifts should not be wasted.
Prince went beyond his 57 years. He worked ceaselessly to not only perfect his craft, but through his music, he showed so much appreciation and gratefulness for his gifts. If you aren’t a Prince fan, what you should do is respect and admire him in how he use his gifts and talents. He is purely an inspiration.
This is the Facebook status I posted:
Good Afternoon, Friends:
I saw the Purple One this afternoon at the local movie theatre. Seeing The Purple Rain just magnifies that we have lost such an amazing individual. It is such a profound lost. Mom, I cannot thank you enough for listening to Prince. After seeing the Purple One in all his glory, it makes me really feel the lost.
I also forgot to share that the audience and I cheered and clapped at the end of The Purple Rain. It was awesome to watch it with Prince fans like me.
Yes, I haven’t always been a diehard Prince fan, but now, I am. Thank you, Prince, for sharing your gifts with us. Thank you so much.