When I first saw Prince it had to be around 1978/1979, I really don’t recall the year but I do recall the day. My girlfriend and I had walked uptown (That’s what everyone called the business section of our rural 2 stop-light country town.) to the store and we as usual were looking through the magazines. I believe it was Right On Magazine; I’m not sure if Prince was on the cover or he was the centerfold but I think it was the centerfold. I saw this beautiful man with this huge afro, black jacket and with a streak of chest hair in the middle. I kept staring at his picture and my girlfriend peak over my shoulder to see what I was looking at and she said “Ah… he ain’t cute.” I said “YES HE IS! HE IS FINE!” We both rolled our eyes and sucked our teeth at each other but I bought that magazine! It’s funny now but by the time we made it back to her home or mine; I don’t recall which; we were back friends again. But we were only 14 and I had just falling in love. This poster went up in my room and stayed there until I left for college.
Prince’s music was the soundtrack of my life from young teen to young adulthood. Almost every Sunday night I would be at the skating rink in Wilson, NC, and as I recall the slow skate was always “Do Me Baby!” I couldn’t skate but it was Prince and that was “my song” so I always pitifully tried to skate. My favorite songs were “Do Me Baby,” “Let’s Work,” “1999,” “Shhh,” “Adore,” “When Doves Cry,” "Another Lonely Christmas," and “Sometimes it Snows in April”. Lord…I was in a teenage love triangle when the “Beautiful Ones” song came out. There is something about the following lyrics that made me think Prince was “all in my head” saying what I couldn’t say: “do you want him or do you want me because I want you” but my version was “do you want her” or “do you want me because I want you.” Thanks Prince! When he released the Purple Rain soundtrack and the movie came out, I knew I was going to have to share him with the world. But I was happy that he was getting recognized for his talent.
My First ConcertMy first concert was in 1981 at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C. Prince was the headliner! Zapp and Roger Troutman opened the show while the Time was the second act. This was in the early days of Prince’s professional career where we could stand right there in front of the stage! And there I was with my boyfriend, standing right in front of the stage the entire show; that was as close as I would ever get to him. Wow, I couldn’t believe that my Momma let me go with my boyfriend to this show and I was only 17. My hearing didn’t quite return until about a week later but I wanted to see Prince again and again. And I did! Including the last concert that I saw him at which was at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. in 2015. That show was a couple days after he performed at the White House. I couldn’t believe how my friend didn’t want to go because of the price, so I went alone. Funny, when I got in line, there were about 6 or seven females and we were all by ourselves. I said to myself; it’s Prince; therefore it’s okay to go alone.
Because my blog is about my genealogy research, I will say something about Prince’s Roots. As other researchers have said, Prince Roots Run DEEP in Louisiana! But his ancestors also lived in Arkansas, Virginia, Georgia and Mississippi. I’m probably missing a state or two but Louisiana is what sticks out to me. I search his surnames (Nelsons, Shaws, Nashs, Jenkins, Phillips, and the Bonnells/Bunnells) just to find one that I might share. But that was not to be found.
I once read an article about Dorothy Dandridge and it stated that her sister-in-law and best friend was Geraldine Pate Nicohlas. Pate is one of my surnames so I "googled" Dorothy’s friend and discovered that the friend was from Minnesota. I screamed PRINCE! Prince is from Minnesota! Well of course, he was the first thing that came to my mind. I thought “could Prince be a Pate descendant?” Well he wasn’t; I was so hoping to claim him as a Blood Relative. But that was how crazy I was into Prince.