I was recently having a discussion with a work colleague about my summer vacation plans, and I mentioned my plans to visit the Prince mansion and his Paisley Park and his recording studios. Not only was this person unfamiliar with Paisley Park, but the person also had never heard of Prince. I get if you’re not a fan. But to say you’ve never heard of him seems odd, given Prince’s notoriety. Prince has made such a huge contribution, with hundreds of credits for music and acting for approximately 40 years.
I was about beginning to wonder whether my colleague was pulling my leg. But, my colleague assured me it was no joke. After a few more minutes of conversing, I found out my colleague also had never heard of August Wilson or Gordon Parks.
So, for a moment I donned my teacher hat and began talking about some of the highlights of Wilson and Parks. Incidentally, I hadn’t recognized the parallels between the two of them until I began talking about them together. Those parallels likely are one of the reasons why I have admired their work and career so much. Even though their craft and mediums were different, the underlying motivations were the same: racism, poverty, and the plight of working class people – particularly the oppression that keeps man down.
As for Prince, I mentioned a few of his popular songs, namely some of my favorites (i.e., Raspberry Beret, When Doves Cry, Controversy, and 1999). Once I did that, my colleague began to recall Prince. I think it was all an act. But I won’t judge – and no, I didn’t try to sing for my colleague. That might have made things worse.