Life Lessons I Learned from Prince

I really do love and miss Prince with every fibre of my being. It was always my dream to take my mom to see Prince live (VIP package, of course), but now it will be the only dream I will never be able to fulfill. I knew one day I would be able to have the money to take her, but it’s impossible now that Prince is dead. I know it’s been over a year since he died, but it doesn’t take the sting out of living in a Princeless world. I still remember my brother breaking the news to me on the day he died. At first I started choking up, then I got teary-eyed and it got to the point my words were incomprehensible to my brother since I burst into tears and started wailing. The last time a death was able to get such a strong emotional response out of me was when my grandma died.

It’s safe to say Prince was a musical genius and the master of amazing. He was a beautiful person inside and out. He oozed charm and sexiness. I loved him no questions asked, but what really made Prince an icon was that no matter what people thought of him, he never changed who he was to fit in because he knew he was made to stand out. While his lifetime’s worth of music is what propelled him to super-stardom, what I appreciated the most about Prince was his ardor to live life with passion and a purpose. He’s someone who’s an inspiration for certain facets of my life from the way I dress to my progress as a creative force. In many ways, I am grateful for his existence and grateful I was able to live in the same time frame as the greatest musical artist to have ever lived. Here are some lessons his life and music have taught me.

Be yourself

“Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people” ― Prince

Prince made sure he nor his music could never be boxed into one genre or category. He let his music speak for him and wore what he wanted without caring about how it came across. He wore flashy clothing, high heels (seriously, what other man can rock high heels!!?), and eye liner because that’s what he wanted to do. If nothing else, it was hard to ignore him. For a number of men, they wouldn’t dare wear what Prince did for the fear their sexuality would be called into question. The funny thing is Prince got more vagina than those kind of insecure guys ever could. He was progressive during his life and was the definition of daring. He showed me it’s perfectly okay to go against the norm and be unapologetic all throughout.

 

A strong spirit transcends rules

Prince thought we should all strive to be different, to be more than what society says we should be. The things that make you different are what make you awesome and interesting. On paper, Prince’s qualities wouldn’t be what comes to one’s mind when the topic of masculinity is brought up, but when I think of what a manly man is, Prince is one of two (the other being The Rock) who instantly come to my mind. It didn’t really make sense for him to become a sex symbol, but he did become one. Warner Bros. Records didn’t want “Kiss” to be released as a single, but it became his third number-one US hit and won a Grammy award. His music crossed lines and blurred them, he was the epitome of someone who let his art speak for him. He taught me in my life and creative endeavors, the more genuine and honest I am, the more people can and will relate.

 

If you want something, you better pursue it wholeheartedly

Prince didn’t become a multi-instrumentalist or release thirty-nine albums overnight. He knew what he wanted to do and went after it. I realize if I’m serious about my craft, I better get to work every day.

 

Don’t let the naysayers and haters get you down

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“There’s nothing a critic can tell me that I can learn from. If they were musicians, maybe. But I hate reading about what some guy sitting at a desk thinks about me. You know, ‘He’s back, and he’s black,’ or ‘He’s back, and he’s bad.’ Whew! Now, on [1990 film/soundtrack album] Graffiti Bridge, they’re saying I’m back and more traditional. Well, ‘Thieves in the Temple’ and ‘Tick, Tick, Bang’ don’t sound like nothing I’ve ever done before.” ― Prince

He’s absolutely right. His words remind me of another quote I love by Denzel Washington, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t talk about those who can”. Those guys sitting at their desks have it easy, there are people that sit on the sidelines waiting to jeer at you when you fail because they’re too scared to pursue their own dreams. I always tell these kind of people that just because you suck don’t fault the next person for trying. Anyone who’s tried anything knows how hard it is to try. It takes courage to perform, try new things, and putting yourself out there in the spotlight for everyone to see which Prince did. Prince ignored the naysayers because those weren’t the kind of people who wanted to see him improve or grow. I ignore and expunge the people who question my abilities, goals and dreams all because they’re paralyzed by fear and can’t pull themselves up. I have nothing to gain from them, so I don’t waste my time or thoughts on them.

 

Purple is a beautiful color

Currently if you were to Google “purple is a” one of the autosuggestions read “a gay color”. There are even questions on various Q&A websites where users ask something like “Does wearing purple make a man look gay?” By the way, the answer is “yes” if you’re a stupid person. Prince made me want to add the color to my wardrobe and when I think about the fact purple is one of the colors of the asexual pride flag and the hair color of my waifu it gives it more sentimental meaning for me.

 

Life is a party and parties weren’t meant to last

As I am writing this post and embracing this moment in my life, I couldn’t agree more with his lyrics. Prince understood very well that life is ephemeral and it was important to treat it as a party. No, not one of those parties where you get wasted and don’t remember what happened when you wake up the next morning. What are parties usually for? To celebrate something. I’ve learned to take life one day at a time, just being able to wake up in the morning is a victory. I make sure to celebrate the everyday, enjoy the simple things, be thankful I have family and friends, live in the moments, and take in the present because tomorrow is never promised.

 

And those are some important lessons I learned from Prince. The man who inspired an entire generation, the man who inspired me. He will live on through his music and the positive impact he’s had on his fans. The world lost a musician, composer, innovator, talent and icon. RIP Prince, and thank you.

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