Life and Death

Earlier tonight I watched a documentary on the life and career of Prince Rogers Nelson. In my opinion, Prince is one of the greatest musicians and entertainers of all time. Though most people probably only know Prince as a musician who dressed in feminine clothes and sang a lot of sexually explicit songs in the 1980’s, he was way more than that. And, after watching a documentary tonight called, Prince: When Doves Cry, it helped me to see him in a different light… as just another man seeking validation and pursuing happiness in life.

For me as a young child who grew up on a farm in a country town of Louisiana, one of my favorite pastimes was watching movies. My first memory of Prince, was seeing him as an actor in his film, Purple Rain. I’ve probably seen Purple Rain (the film) 15-20 times over the years. It was one of the first romantic dramas I ever saw that featured young African-American actors. Plus it even had a cool story line. So, I loved Prince as an actor before I loved him as a musician.

I probably didn’t start liking Prince’s music until I started playing the guitar when I was around 16 years old. And, even though Prince was one of the most sexually controversial entertainers at the time when I was growing up, I really wasn’t influenced by how he dressed in women’s clothes or his sexual explicit lyrics. I was simply too young and too naive to understand what his lyrics even meant, plus I didn’t really care what type of clothes he wore. He seemed a little weird, but everyone on TV seemed a little weird to me.

Nevertheless, I’ve always felt I had something in common with Prince’s music. After watching the documentary… I understand now why I felt that way. It’s because he and I share a many similarities personally: first of all we both share conservative Christian values and faith, both love and played basketball, both came from a divorced family, both moved out of our parent’s homes early in life, both dealt with epilepsy, both dealt with loneliness and depression at times, Prince’s first and only child died soon after birth due to a birth defect… my oldest brother died when he was a few years old due to a birth defect.

Prince died last year at 57 years old… my father died last year at 66 years old. I’m learning every day to value my life and my time more. No one knows when their last hour will come… death can be a breath away and we not even realize it. I learned three things from watching Prince’s documentary…

  1. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE – Prince was 5’2 and didn’t start playing music until he was in 10th or 11th grade. It would seem that he wasn’t fit for a career in entertainment. But, when he found his true love… music, he pursued it with all of his heart. And, he learned to take authority over everything in his life, including his destiny. Nothing great will ever just happen… it takes hard work. And, you can’t allow other people to make decisions for you.
  2. EVERYBODY NEEDS A COMMUNITY OF FRIENDS – Prince died alone. I believe the main reason why he died the way he did is because he didn’t have hardly any close relationships. Meaning, he didn’t have people he was accountable to, or who encouraged him in his times of depression.
  3. WE ALL NEED A WILL – Once any adult accumulates a certain amount of wealth and possessions, I believe they should write a will. Especially if they don’t have a close-knitted family. Death is already a tough time for everyone… having a will just makes it a lot easier.

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