On September 23rd, Pam Tillis, Director of Public Programs for the New School for Public Engagement organized a tribute to Prince inspired by the Black Lives Matter’s hashtag entitled, #PurpleReigns: A Tribute to Prince. Leading the crowd in celebration were musician Alyson Palmer from the band BETTY, guitarist Mishti Roy, dancer Darlene Arrington, Ricky Tucker, and New School faculty Julia Ott, Simon Critchley, Deva Woodly, Claire Potter.
Good evening and welcome. I’m Alyson Palmer from the rock band BETTY and I am so honored to be your MC tonight for this tribute to a truly inspiring being. From June 1958 to April 2016, a brilliant purple comet streaked through the stratosphere, casting light on huge swaths of the world below. That comet was the artist known as Prince Rogers Nelson.
He was a visual icon of fabulous. He was a self-taught musician who learned how to be loud and flashy at a very young age, to overcome the relentless teasing from classmates on account of his epileptic seizures. He was a prolific songwriter; writing songs not just for himself but for countless other musicians that he supported, mentored, and befriended — from Wendy and Lisa to Cyndi Lauper to Sheila E. to so many more than we could even mention.
He was known as a generous songwriter who gave as much music as he took in for influence and inspiration. He was also a powerful activist with a moral code made of titanium. Titanium because it’s an alloy stronger than steel, but that is known for its amazing resistance to corrosion. Here, New School faculty and friends share some personal reflections on the many facets of Prince.