From the Little Girl who Always Sang ‘1999’ too Loudly

I have what feels like a lifetime of wonderful childhood memories of my sister and me dancing and singing along to Prince songs with my sister. We never had a lot of CDs, but would use cassette tapes to record our favorite jams when they came on the radio and found creative joy in curating our own playlists long before Spotify was a thing. I smile thinking about us belting out ‘1999’ to ring in a new year, or doing dramatic renditions of ‘When Doves Cry.’

Beyond listening to his music, I loved looking at images of Prince. There Prince was, defying the boxes and labels the industry demands of its stars, flowing effortlessly between name and symbol and back again- never to be defined by moments in time. For two little girls who were different from those around them, Prince mattered. Looking back now, I can say that as I walked through childhood defying the binaries and confinements around me as best I could, there was a bit of Prince at the foundation.

And years later, as I developed the concept of heterotopic spaces of internal resistance (HSIR) for my master’s thesis, it was Prince’s creativity of space and place that engaged me in the work I have done on young black men who live beyond the walls.

Prince did it to show us all how to do it. Thank you.