Purple Reign: Remembering Prince

Purple Reign: Remembering Prince

The world gently wept today as news broke that Prince passed away in his home of Paisley Park. Here, we remember the artist's iconic cover story from V84, while contributing music editor T. Cole Rachel takes a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of one of music's greatest acts

The world gently wept today as news broke that Prince passed away in his home of Paisley Park. Here, we remember the artist's iconic cover story from V84, while contributing music editor T. Cole Rachel takes a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of one of music's greatest acts

Photography: Inez & Vinoodh

Styling: Melanie Ward

Text: T. Cole Rachel

Proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that April really is the cruelest month (and 2016, apparently, the cruelest year), we have now lost Prince. It seems unthinkable. Much like Bowie, Prince was the kind of star who actually transcended the very concept of stardom. He was a force of nature--a feeling, a color, occasionally an unpronounceable symbol--a figure so otherworldly and deeply influential that he existed in his own special universe. For those of us who came of age with him, Prince was like a beacon of freedom and freakdom—living proof that by sheer force of will (and with a supernatural amount of talent) you could literally create your own world. He was a preening, forever funky, always provocative, hyper-sexualized, perpetually purple ball of fire whose work managed to transcend race, genre, and gender. He was as generous as he was mysterious—an untouchably great performer for whom sex and spirituality were complimentary forces and not necessarily competing ones. Despite being one of the most famous humans on the planet, he was also one of the most deeply enigmatic. As much as it seems impossible to imagine a world without Prince in it, it’s equally impossible to imagine what our cultural landscape might look like had he never been here.

With a career spanning nearly four decades and encompassing a whopping 39 albums (many of which will go down as some of the greatest pieces of music EVER written), Prince’s influence on pop culture and the history of rock music is both gargantuan and wholly incalculable. As there is almost nothing that can be said to properly make sense of the loss of someone like Prince, all I can do now is go back to the music and try to take stock of what it has meant to me. As I type this I am listening to my battered 45 single of “Let’s Go Crazy”, which is one of the first records I ever purchased with my own money. It’s a record that almost got taken away from me after I refused to stop playing the record’s flipside, “Erotic City” over and over in my bedroom. After listening to the sexed-up lyrics, my dad contemplated confiscating the record out of fear that my mom would freak out if she knew he’d let me purchase it. After a few more listens, he eventually relented. “This is really grown up stuff,” I remember him saying. “But I guess you have to learn about it somewhere. It might as well be from someone called Prince.”

" THE ONLY LOVE WE HAVE IS THE LOVE WE MAKE." - PRINCE

 

 

Credits: GROOMING, MAKEUP, HAIR AMBER ROSE  LIGHTING DIRECTOR JODOKUS DRIESSEN  DIGITAL TECHNICIAN BRIAN ANDERSON PHOTO ASSISTANT BARTON JAHNCKE  STYLIST ASSISTANT COURTNEY KRYSTON  PRODUCTION BRENDA BROWN (THE COLLECTIVE SHIFT)  ON-SET PRODUCTION LISA GREZO (GE PROJECTS)  PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS MAX MILLER, KICKER MCCANN, HAOYUAN REN  STUDIO PRODUCER JEFF LEPINE STUDIO MANAGER MARC KROOP  LOCATION THE JOINT AT HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO, LAS VEGAS  SPECIAL THANKS JULIA RAMADAN

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