Prince-Purple-RainPurple Rain: or how I learned who Prince was

I was born in 1992. I’m 24 years old. So naturally when Prince died I was startled, but not emotional. You see, when I was informed that the music icon had passed away, I knew the name, I knew a few songs, but that was it. The death didn’t have the same affect on me that David Bowie’s death did.

My mother loved Prince. She, and her siblings, grew up in just the right generation to experience his music and performances. Tonight, I just got back from a midnight screening of “Purple Rain” with her, my mother’s day gift to her.

Going into the film she warned me not to be too critical. That it wasn’t going to be “good” in the traditional sense. In a way, she was right. The camerawork was amateurish, the acting was awful, and the editing/story were all over the place. Yet, I still felt passion, an emotion that I don’t normally feel coming out of a film so scotched taped together.

I was among a fervent crowd, feeling out of place (and not wearing any purple), but a lot of the passion I felt came from Prince himself. His acting, like many of the other actors, was not good, but he still demanded an electric presence, especially during the performance scenes – patrons would clap along to many of the hit songs.

I also thought the story was good. There was never a clear resolution, but there were clear moments where you could tell Prince was putting his heart into his character, and drawing out his own personal and professional flaws, laying bare for all of us to see – something his music always did.

Now this movie I literally just saw, “Purple Rain,” is all I’ve seen of Prince, ever. I still don’t know much about him at all, but now I have a clear idea of what he represented on a cultural level.