Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Erykah Badu + More Pay Tribute To Prince
The death of Prince was felt by the whole world, but the loss of his passing may have been felt most keenly by his fellow artists, especially the very short list of musical greats–Stevie Wonder, George Clinton and Aretha Franklin are the names that have jumped to the mind of many–who survive him, a very small fraternity that doubtless feels lonelier than ever in a world without Michael Jackson, James Brown and Whitney Houston.
Clinton and Stevie both spoke to CNN, each visibly shaken, as the world grappled with the news, trying–like so many of us–to process information we were not ready to accept. Wonder, in particular, delivered an emotional remembrance of his fellow creator, saying:
“Yeah, I think I would probably break down if I do a song right now. I’m just glad I was able to say to him ‘I love you’ when I last saw him.”
Aretha Franklin, a musical giant if there ever was one, was equally loquacious in her praise, if more emotionally composed, when she spoke to MSNBC’s Brian Williams. “There will never be another Prince,” she said, echoing what us mere mortals have been repeating to ourselves the last 24 hours. “He was Music to the max.” Take a second…Aretha Franklin said that.
Will Smith revealed he had just spoken to the artist eternally known as Prince a few hours before his passing and collaborator and muse Sheila E. shared with People magazine: “The meaning of the word loss has taken on a new meaning this day. Thank God love lives forever.”
From the generation who grew up with Prince, funk connoisseur DaM-FunK said simply “Prince was the G of all funk.” Speaking to Mass Appeal in a previously scheduled interview about his new DJ Kicks mix that was taped just a few hours after the news broke, he added:
“He did it. You know what I mean? The way he came in, the way he battle the labels, the way he tried to stand up for himself, from the slave writing on the side of his face—no one was doing that. Protesting—in his own way. He didn’t have to protest, but he was trying to show us that you can own your masters. You don’t have to get pimped by these motherfuckas. You can get your shit. Get it back in control. And that’s what Prince should be remembered for…
Prince is my inspiration. My inspiration. My generation’s inspiration. And people often forget about people like Prince. He fought. He did movies like Purple Rain in his 20s! Come on, man. This guy doesn’t get credit because of the type of clothes he wears? You got tough dudes wearing tough clothes who ain’t did half the shit Prince did.”
Sometime Prince protegé and our own reigning Q.U.E.E.N. of Okayplayerness, Ms. Erykah Badu also held forth in a heartfelt facebook post that was as much a poem as a testimonial. To what she said below, we can only add: our cells, too.
That time Prince was your rhythm guitarist
then sent you the picture.
The time Prince was so gracious to come to your club in the hood of South Dallas and play for 4 hours into the night…
The time you recorded “Today -the earth song”
at Paisley Park.
All the times y’all shot pool and argued over religion.
The time Prince got in your Lemo to tell you that ‘World Wide Underground ‘ wasn’t finished yet and you ‘felt a way’. Lol
The time Prince “evolved ” and wouldn’t sign yo mama’s ‘Dirty Mind’ album cover cause he said he wasn’t into that no mo and yo mama told him
“well you shouldn’t have made it then” and you were embarrassed.
The time Prince had a “swear jar” and you just put a 20 dollar bill in it when you walk in.
The time Prince and Larry Grahm had you cornered in a Jehova’s Witness…well, witness session.
The time you presented Prince with the ICON Billboard AWARD with 20 (Janell Monáe).
The time you sang “I wanna be your lover” on the 3rd grade talent show wearing a swim top and the teachers cut you short because it was “inappropriate”.
The moment you remember how much he means to you…
You’ve been here all my life .
And You will live F O R E V E R in my cells.
Sometimes it snows in April?