#3 Countdown to 40: Prince

Number 3: Prince

In my countdown to 40, number 3 on the list of things I’m thankful for is Prince. Anyone who has known me, especially during years 11-35, knows about this obsession. It’s not because he’s always been so sexy, cool, and talented though.

It’s because he hasn’t been.

When I first heard of Prince, I was 8 years old. It was 1979 and “I Wanna Be Your Lover” was popular. I honestly thought it was the same woman who sang, “You Can Ring My Bell.”  And then I found out it wasn’t a woman at all, but a man. A really pretty man. His gender-bending style of dress and persona blew my mind wide open.

It was through Prince that I learned that people could be different.

Even more important to me was the realization that black people could be different. Let’s face it, you know Prince got bullied when he was young. Not just for being different from the mainstream, but being different from a lot of people within the black community as well. And it wasn’t just the way he combed his hair or the stylish clothes he wear…wore. (Yeah, I know that wasn’t Prince.) His music crossed genres from disco, R&B, to rock and roll, punk, jazz, and new wave. And he didn’t make any apologies for it.

He just kept right on being himself.

That’s why I’m thankful for Prince. He took Polonius’s advice, “To thine own self be true,” and epitomized it.

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