Review: “Prince Was a Modern-Day Sage”

Do you consider yourself to be a student of Prince? According to Prince’s Friend and his new video released today called “Prince Was a Modern-Day Sage,” if you are a Prince fan, friend or fam, then by definition, you are a student of Prince.

Prince’s Friend steps out of his more typical interview format to offer a personal take on the influence Prince has on his life, at one point recalling how he transcribed Prince’s lyrics as an 11-year-old child in order to study their meaning (he doesn’t share which songs he transcribed, but one would hope it was more along the lines of “Free” and less “Let’s Pretend We’re Married.”). The result is one of his most effective videos to date.

I found myself nodding along to much that Prince’s Friend had to say, including his comment that dedicating oneself to a single goal (in Prince’s case, music) carries a steep price for other areas of one’s life. As I listened, visuals popped into my mind, including a memory of Morris Hayes speaking at Steve Parke’s book signing in Edina in September 2017. Hayes shared that Prince told him that he considered himself a writer first and foremost. And that my friends, gets to the heart of this video. Prince very intentionally shared messages in his songs. Those of us who resonate with those messages (and I include myself in this category) enjoy taking a deeper look at his meaning, his messages and his intent.

If you ask the big question of life, which is “how do we live?” Prince certainly had a prescription, which was love for one another, acceptance and respect. I would add: We must be bold. What looked a whole lot like rebellious teenage (or early 20s, as the case may be) behavior on Prince’s part is now better understood as Prince expressing himself. Whether by wearing bikini underwear on stage or writing “slave” across his cheek, Prince was bold about expressing himself and in turn, pushing people to open their minds, “as only a sage can,” in the words of Prince’s Friend.

In a sense, this video plays out as a welcome complement to this blog and my “Year of Living Like a Prince.” Prince’s Friend and I are each walking that line between admiring the message and making peace with the flawed human behind them. While Prince’s messages stand as proof of the power of the word, in his life, there was much that is not only not admirable, but also clearly should not be emulated. That’s okay with me. I can experiment with the great qualities and practices that made Prince a tremendous success, while looking at him in a clear-eyed manner. He was not a perfect person. Others may not be able to overcome that hurdle and discard the message because of the actions of the man. That’s their prerogative and I understand that as well.

One of the best parts of 2018 was watching Prince’s Friend and Darling Nisi step into the spotlight with Prince’s Friend and Muse 2 The Pharoah respectively. This video represents a major new effort from Prince’s Friend to delve deeper into Prince’s legacy.

Do you agree that Prince was a modern-day sage? Do you consider yourself a student of Prince? Join the conversation over at Prince’s Friend.

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