“This is what it sounds like when Doves Cry.” ~Prince
By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News
In the mid-1970s, sitting in the band room at Minneapolis Central listening to a conversation between Prince and band teacher James Hamilton, you knew that this five-foot, three-inch brother was going to sail his own ship…nobody would be able to stand in his way.
“Mr. Hamilton, they’re not going to play my song on the local radio stations’; not even KMOJ,” said Prince. “One day soon, they will. Local radio stations will not have a choice because you will be world famous,” said Mr. Hamilton. Then Prince strutted over to the upright piano located in the front of the band room and started to play. The sound that came out of the piano was hypnotizing, erotic, funky and on-the-one (if you’re not a musician, or never played and instrument, you will not understand what this means).
Local radio stations didn’t bother with his music. Most of us went to Crown Records on 38th and Fourth Avenue to pick up a copy of “Soft and Wet” on 45, or to purchase one of Prince’s two albums at the time. Locally, Prince was in the process of putting Minneapolis on the map. Unbeknown to him, he would also carry several other local bands, musicians, engineers, designers, cameramen and women to a whole new level in the global music scene.
Prince was a respected member of Minnesota’s black community because of his commitment to his art and his ability to direct and travel outside of the white-male patriarchal controlled “ask-for-permission zone.” Economically, Prince had it all; money, cars, people, real estate, night clubs and a host of out-state properties he either rented or owned. In the metaphorical sense, he was not black or white…he was Prince – a person that Minnesotan’s in the mainstream had to respect, love and support. Being Prince around the time Purple Rain was in production, you had the state of Minnesota doing whatever it could to bring a multi-million-dollar production out of downtown Minneapolis.
First Avenue, the waters of Lake Minnetonka…who cared? Who knew? But now they did.
Prince was true to his home state even after the point he returned to film the movie. He left because there was no support here; but as Minnesota Nice operates, god forbid one of you Negroes gets famous, makes movies, music and becomes a global sensation; Minnesota Nice will embrace you with its ever-loving arms that tell you, you’re not Black…you’re famous, which makes you safe for me to associate with (Just ask all the mother’s and father’s from the Western suburbs of the Twin Cities who camped out in front of First Avenue to see if their daughters were heading in to see that black guy Prince. Yes, it was a spectacle.
Mainstream Minnesota respected Prince. Now that he has tragically died, there is no other black people in the state Minnesota Nice has to respect…as seen by the many reports about black people and disparities of the recent years here in Minnesota Nice. (Personally, I’m not going anywhere until this is fixed).