So when I first heard that Prince died, I didn’t really hear that Prince died. I kinda heard that Prince died, but since it sounded so crazy, I initially didn’t think my friend was crying either. I found myself hugging her out of many things. Compassion. Camaraderie. Friendship. When a friend needs a hug, the reason isn’t really that important, but when I clearly heard what she was saying, that Prince died, suddenly Kecia and I were hugging each other and grieving.
I’ve honestly never broached the thought of Prince dying. He has been so amazing for so long, that a large cross section of two generations only know of him as a pop icon, yet his story has always felt so intimate. He never compromised his art. His brilliance always felt inclusive and warm. I’ve had little sayings, ad libs and phrases, that I would say all the time, from his records.
I knew nearly every word of every song from the Around The World In A Day album, which, if it’s an album you don’t like, totally means that you’re a sicko commie.
My friend Kecia’s energy was kind of off, as she walked up to me on Thursday, like all the energy that was in her body, had been drained out. She was literally dragging her computer and two bags and jacket, while her face had a pained, exhausted look. That memory of her visceral reaction, to his death, won’t leave my mind. I just finished shooting Dick & Dave on BK Live, where The Regal in Williamsburg, came on to make cocktails and we did our usual spiel of cracking jokes and recommending weekend events, while sipping on a drank.
Everything seemed so normal. I left my house in the morning, and Prince was still alive. I went into the Green Room and joked around with my co-host Dave Colon, and Steve Escobar from The Regal, as I poured some coffee and grabbed a muffin, and Prince was still alive. We went upstairs and got mic-ed up, as I checked my phone for the last time, since I have to put it on airplane mode when we’re on set, and Prince was still alive. Or maybe he was still alive to me. Maybe social media hadn’t reached me yet and he was dead before we went on set.
It’s the extreme suddenness that has me all in a shock since Thursday. It made me think of a very strong Prince memory, which might sound unexpected, coming from a real fan of the artist.
I remember my high school prom and how after prom, me and my girlfriend and my boy and his girlfriend were going to spend the weekend in Wildwood, NJ. It’s a beach town on the Jersey shore. It wasn’t a warm weekend actually, which goes to show that Mother Nature delivering bad Spring weather ain’t brand new!
Before going to Wildwood, we went to Latin Quarters to party out for the night, and he decided to get his Prince flow poppin’ for the party.
If you know anything about Latin Quarters in the 80’s, you know that a light skinned, curly hair dude, going to LQ, wearing eyeliner, lace-half finger gloves and a fat gold herringbone chain, is just some super brave shit. Going dressed like that, with only your friend and both y’all girlfriends, is just absolute suicide and object madness. He kinda looked like Special Ed, but Special Ed ran with a huge crew!
I tried to talk him out of it several times, but his ride or die for Prince was so intense, that he wasn’t hearing anything. At that juncture, it was a lot of people that would ditch my boy, because he was gonna roll up, looking like a surefire vic, and most people wanted nothing to do with that. But I loved prince as well and wore a lace wrist band, which was discreet and really just for me and my girl to know. I was a prince fan for myself and not for the world.
We were both were super fans and my friend wanted to show his love, on the biggest day of his young life, by playing Prince dress up, at arguable the most dangerous club in existence. Needless to say, while me and my girlfriend are at the bar, one of the countless fights happen in the club, right where we left my friend and his girl.
Came back from the bar with drinks and my boy and his girl were gone, like they fucking vanished! I asked around and found out my friend was involved (the dude said “you talking about that short muhfucker with the lace gloves”) and unfortunately, security at LQ would just throw everybody out on the street together, so whatever was happening, could continue, just not inside the club.
I was sure he had got his chain snatched, but I wasn’t sure if they were jumping him, so like a dutified friend, I went outside to help . When I get outside and cross the street, with my girl in hand, a group of roughly sixty dudes start running at us, screaming some indecipherable shit. I thought about running, but my girl had on heels and it would really have made no difference. So we stood there, I pushed her behind me in the crevice of the commercial parking garage door, and prepared, thinking I can at least connect on a few punches before being stomped out of existence.
As I braced for armageddon, they ended up running past us, apparently not after us at all. It was the scariest shit ever!! I eventually found my friend and his girl, and yes he got that herringbone snatched. it became a real fight because his chain was so thick, it wouldn’t come off with a single yank! We drove down to Wildwood in a bit of silence and after we settled in at the motel (what, I was frickin’ 18 and Wildwood ain’t really have Hotels), I asked him why he did it. Why he dressed up like Prince and wore a thick gold chain, at Latin Quarters.
He said because he loved Prince and would do it again.