Happy Birthday, Prince (Even Though I Know You Did Not Celebrate Birthdays)

screenshot_2016-05-06-00-40-54-1.png

Since April 21, 2016, I have been in a weird place. A sad place. A celebratory place. A place of remembrance. A place of discovery. I told myself (and my hubby) that after today, I will make an honest attempt to move on. Its hard feeling like you lost someone you knew so well, that you really didn’t know, and didn’t know you.

Prince Rogers Nelson would have turned 58 today. He was  is my favorite artist of all time. Please indulge me as I go off topic a little for today’s post as I give my tribute to him on the anniversary of his birth.

img_20160602_075722.jpg

You may remember last year on mother’s day, I went alone to a Prince concert.  Not only was that my way of escaping the infertile mother’s day blues, it was fulfilling a dream of mine since I was six years old: see Prince live in concert.

 I’m not a fan because I  thought he was sexy (though he has had his phases where, I can’t lie, he was lookin’ fine). I love Prince for his artistry and creativity. Even as a kid, I was just drawn to the music.  At six years old, I didn’t know what a “sex fiend was”, but I loved the way the music sounded and felt. When I was 9 or 10, I asked my Mom if I could go to see Prince in concert (it was 1988, Lovesexy tour). Of course the answer was “No”, but what 10 year old asks with all sincerity to go to a Prince concert? Me. When I decided I wanted to be a creative when I was around 13 or 14, I really started to appreciate him on another level. By high school I was fully immersed in all things Prince. Reading books, buying up CDs new and old, examining and dissecting lyrics. He made it OK to be different. When I was  a teenager, I was that kid that stepped juuuust outside the box. Enough to not be the same (because I never, even to this day want to be the same as everyone else),  but not enough that people thought I was strange. Just kinda weird. When I was in the 10th grade, I had this hat that was…different. I can’t explain it with words. But I loved it, and it was me. One day, a security guard at school said to me: “That is the ugliest cute hat I’ve ever seen.” It was the best compliment to me. It made me love the hat even more. That’s the confidence Prince gave me: I could wear ‘ugly-cute’ things with pride.  I mean, it takes a certain amount of confidence, and zero-f**k giving to be a grown man rocking 4 inch heels, wear eyeliner, and pants with you ass cheeks out. Prince made me OK with who I was.

Young Prince lookin good1 If I were 14 and not all of 1 or 2 when this poster was out...
Young Prince lookin’ good!
If I were 14 and not all of 1 or 2 when this poster was out…

Going through teenage angst, and the uncertainty of my 20s, and feeling like I didn’t quite fit in, even with friends all around, his music gave me a place to feel comfortable. When I  needed creative inspiration, he provided it. When I was in love, or when I was heartbroken, he had a song that somehow  expressed exactly what I felt in my soul. He was a friend I never met in person . An inspiration. He was everything I wanted to be as an artist.

He introduced me to new sounds of music. Because his music was everything from R&B, to Rock, I began to appreciate forms of music I might not have otherwise. He helped me expanded my mind and my world.

And, I can’t lie. I think I learned about kissing from Prince. When I saw Prince kiss Apollonia in Purple Rain, I just knew when I got older and got a boyfriend…that’s how it was gonna be. (well…..)

What was portrayed as arrogance and weirdness: not wanting to talk to people, being so tightly in control of his image, being a perfectionist: I understood. He was (I’m almost positive) an introvert. Introverts in general have little to no patience for small talk, or being “fake”, and keep their world small, keeping those they trust and like most close.

Prince through the years
Prince through the years

But of course, Prince was not perfect, and was, after all, human.  Prince comes with a story of loss that does relate to infertility. In 1996, he and his first wife Mayte Garcia lost their son to a rare genetic disorder just one week after birth. Mayte recently admitted to losing a second pregnancy to miscarriage not long after. The pain of those losses seems to  have taken a huge toll on their marriage. Its a reminder to us, that while we have a lot of emotions and feelings about not conceiving or losing a pregnancy, we’re not in it alone. Our partner also experiences disappointment, fear, loss, and heartbreak.

Prince was not afraid to speak his mind. About the record industry. About God. About Chemtrails. About Black Lives.

He gave anonymously to libraries, music programs, and schools. He quietly donated money to the family of Travon Martin. He stood up for Black empowerment.

He was a Philanthropist and humanitarian.

As much as I, and all of the Purple Army feel like we knew him, the truth is we didn’t know all of him. We knew the parts of him he allowed us to know. The recent medical examiner’s report released June 2, 2016 lists the cause of death as accidental. Cause: overdose of Fentanyl.

I struggle with this, as he was known to be a clean eater. A vegan. Not a drinker or smoker, or into drugs. But after years of doing splits, leaping off of speakers and pianos, and wearing four inch heels, I’m sure his body paid the price. Even after hip surgery, I’m sure some level of pain persisted. My understanding of chronic pain is not much, but I know that it can be debilitating.

If he did become dependent on painkillers to perform, it doesn’t change the way I feel. If anything, I have empathy. Both Prince and Michael Jackson were so in love with music and performing, and wanted perfection, that they pushed themselves to the extreme limits. Literally wearing themselves out.  Possibly not only numbing the physical pain, but emotional and spiritual pain from the past as well.

 

I fully expected Prince to be walking out on a stage with in full swagger and guitar strapped around him when he was 80 years old, still tearing it up. We just can’t believe he’s not here. I know I can’t

Picture credit: Billboard 2016
Notes, flowers, and more left at Paisley Park Picture credit:
Billboard 2016

Since April 21, the world has been mourning and celebrating: Dance parties, tribute bands, memorials, Facebook groups, Instagram pages, and movie marathons. People are fully taking advantage of the temporary leniency and distraction of his attorneys, posting concert footage, rare interviews and music on YouTube (They are back on it now, and videos are coming down with the quickness) Then of course, there was Madonna’s tribute…

 

It remains to be seen if BET will live up to their claims in the shadiest promo that’s ever been shown. (See what I did there Prince fans) Today they announced some of the artists scheduled to perform in the BET tribute.

We shall see….

 

screenshot_2016-05-27-00-20-18-1.png

 

The point is, today, I want to say Happy Born Day Prince Rogers Nelson!

Artist. Humanitarian. Visionary.  Businessman. Teacher. Performer. Human. Friend. Alexander Nevermind. Jamie Starr. The Kid. Camille. “That skinny mothaf***a’ with the high voice”. Christopher Tracy. The Artist. Genius.

You’ve given us all so much. I know you are with God, and you will live forever through your music and philanthropy.

Peace and Be Wild.

13100876_10154318554816159_3188153879826011179_n.jpg

Welcome 2 The Dawn

Advertisements

Coming out of the Closet: I’m a Beyonce Fan

Lets take a break form Infertility and Fibroids, and go Off Topic! A new category you will see more of, because sometimes, you just need to talk about other things.

 

Hi, my name is Jai, and I’m a Beyonce fan.  There. I said it for the whole interwebs to see!

 

rs_634x845-140424061203-634.Beyonce-Time-JR1-42414

I got a new iPod for Christmas, a much needed upgrade, and I noticed as I upgraded iTunes (again) and re downloaded music, that I have a lot of Beyonce music. Like, a lot. More than I thought I did.  Now, I would never categorize myself as a Beyonce hater, because there are segments of  people who have an irrational hate of all things Beyonce (the polar opposite of the Beyhive: those that love everything Beyonce says, does, and thinks). I just never really would have categorized myself as a fan. I liked a few songs, but not a fan. I see myself as an artsy music girl. I love Erykah Badu, Mos Def (Yasin Bey), Janelle Monae, Santigold, Jay ElectronicaPrince! (who is my absolute favorite artist of all time) Surely, I don’t have room in my heart to be a fan of Beyonce’s. But, she did perform with Prince at Grammys in 2004, and he did say she was talented, and more knowledgeable about music than he thought……

(The low key shade though…)

Maybe I was still feeling some kinda way about the shade-tasic way the original Destiny’s Child broke up. I was a DC fan, but the day I turned on the original 106&Park in my college dorm and saw the Say My Name video with two new, random chicks, I was in shock. So much so that it was the topic of discussion in my crew for at least three days.

Maybe because I felt like I was too old to be a Bey fan. By that I mean that I’ve noticed that women who are really big fans of Beyonce are usually 30 and under.  They would have been tweens or little girls during the whole Destiny’s Child era.  They were a nice group of young ladies to look up to: stylish, talented, sassy but not raunchy. Those girls followed Beyonce’s evolution over time from a child and teens point of view. Adoring her every move. Women and girls 30 and under idolize her. They truly look up to her as a role model of success, style, and womanhood.

Plus, I always felt like she came across as a little vapid in interviews. But I see now that it was all an evil genius move. Well that, or her “people” never really wanted he to come off as having a mind of her own. Either way. Now, she seems more willing and comfortable speaking her mind and doing what ever the f she wants!

I have a friend, Shay, who went through this conversion a few years back. She and I were the last 2 standing in not being Beyonce fans in our circle. In fact, she referred to her as Beyowolf. Then, some time after the 4 album came out, Shay gave in, and joined the legion of Bey fans. It was just me, and I was refusing to go down.

As I recently went through my music library, I noticed not only did I own a lot of her music, I liked it. Like, those are my jamz! Doing choreography in my living room jamz. So, after I broke down and bought the Beyonce album on iTunes (yes, I got it a year later because I refused to be on the Beyonce bandwagon. That’s how serious I was about not being a fan), I had a long talk with myself and had to admit: I’m a fan. I respect her drive and push to make music and stay on top of the game, her ability to stay relevant, be a trend setter even.  Her style. Her stage show. As a former dancer, I LOVE the dancers she hires. And the choreography?!  The production. The costuming. Slaying! The fact that she manages to stay genuinely curvy and be in shape. I’m just here for all of it.

Now, I’m far from a Beyhive member, I won’t take it that far, but I am a fan. I just am.  And its OK. I can like Miles Davis, and Portishead, and The Foreign Exchange…..and Beyonce.

OK Bey. You win.    Bow down, bitches indeed.

UPDATE
Just as I started to settle in to Beyonce fandom, I may have to take it all back. Beyoncé is slated to sing Take my Hand, Precious Lord at the Grammys as a part of Common and John Legend ‘s performance if Glory from the movie Selma. The problem? Ledisi (Who is an awesome singer in her own right) sings this song (as Mahalia Jackson) in the movie. So why is Beyonce singing it, when Ledisi will be in attendance at the Grammys because she’s nominated for her own song? Good question. I can only guess there are politics involved. The better question is why did she except?
Major side eye, Bey.