Prince made more than the music of a generation, he made music that defined generations. The world was collectively shocked when they heard that the Purple One passed, possibly from complications due to the flu. You would be hard pressed to find someone he didn’t influence.
Some simply couldn’t even talk about it just now, Clarence Avant, Quincy Jones, Bruno Mars, Trombone Shorty and Janelle Monae amongst them.
Here’s how so many – from every genre of music – reacted.
President Barack Obama took to Facebook with a short memorial, saying in part: “Today, the world lost a creative icon. Michelle and I join millions of fans from around the world in mourning the sudden death of Prince. Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent. As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer.
“A strong spirit transcends rules,” Prince once said — and nobody’s spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his band, and all who loved him.”
And then Erica and Tina Campbell of Mary Mary echoed what many have said over the years: that Prince was a musical giant. “”So sad to hear of [his] passing,” the sisters told EBONY, lamenting the loss to the music industry. “Such a creative genius.”
Tina took it a step further, adding: “Prince is one of thee most creative, innovative, passionate and fearless artist musicians that ever walked the planet. Every artist wants ‘it’ but he actually had ‘it’ and no one watching or listening every doubted it.”
Singer Andra Day remembered the years she spent listening to Prince. “I feel like I lost a member of my family today,” she said. “We grew up listening to Prince in every aspect of our daily lives. His brilliance inspired me to color outside of the lines. He was soul, funk, rock, pop, and all of the above. Myself, and the entire artistic community are indebted to him. What a great loss we have experienced today.”
Then there were the other tributes.
From hip hop…
— Livin Legend (@TWISTAgmg) April 21, 2016
— Loni Love (@LoniLove) April 21, 2016
To classic R&B
I can’t believe it, I’m in total shock. So many wonderful memories,
I will miss him. #Prince
— Lionel Richie (@LionelRichie) April 21, 2016
To social and political activists…
— Van Jones (@VanJones68) April 21, 2016
To other iconic celebrities…
Terribly saddened by the devastating news… He truly is a legend and a hero of mine. RIP #prince
— Celine Dion (@celinedion) April 21, 2016
Even Cheerios had something to say about the legend…
— Ad Age (@adage) April 21, 2016
And perhaps Rosario Dawson has the best last word here…
— Rosario Dawson (@rosariodawson) April 21, 2016
Adrienne Samuels Gibbs is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow her on Twitter @adriennewrites.
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Senior Editor, EBONY Magazine