Honored @ the BET awards and something a little personal

I said this last entry or maybe the one before that… I never watched this channel and never would have considered it if not for Prince.

Whatever I have going on with him and his music, its driven me to not only sit through the show for an hour with it muted (90% of the time), but to keep flipping between that and two food network shows to see when they were going to do the honoring.

It finally started around 10:45.

The only other thing that tided me over until then was a little tribute to Michael Jackson performed by… I don’t even know his name, another young guy new to the music scene I’ll probably never give the time of day. But he was pretty amazing dancing to the music. He did “The way you make me feel,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Billie Jean” and to top it all off, “Smooth Criminal”… whatever little I got of that song, I was happy for its inclusion. My favorite of all his songs mainly because of the attire he wore in the video and the Fred Astaire inspired footwork with his own finesse incorporated.

I must say that the whole tribute started on probably one of the worst notes ever.
Newcomer to the R&B scene, Shontelle was singing “Let’s go crazy” donning the purple rain getup complete with the big crazy hair and minus any trace of purple.
It looked like Prince was enjoying it in the audience, but I’m not sure if he’s serious or was humoring the homage.
If that song wasn’t as huge as it was, she probably would have massacred it. It just came out all wrong. So I may be a little biased, whatever.

Another newcomer or someone I’d never seen before, she performed “If eye was ur girlfriend” with an interesting looking bass. Except for the falsetto bits, she sounded really good.

The best moment of the time, hands down, was Alicia Keys performing “Adore.” She was AMAZING. And I never get choked up by that song so early in the game. She had me going within moments because her voice was more than suited for it. Plus, she really put her heart & soul in the performance and painted an ideal picture to accompany it. Prince stood up and clapped for her, he looked so impressed.

If I’m not mistaken, I saw him tear up a little at one point during this homage to him and his work.

Actually, even before this all started, Stevie Wonder did the introduction but did it his own way. Talked about Prince the way he wanted to rather than following the run-of-the-mill scripts all of the people who usually did the introductions for him had. The range of clips they showed were just amazing. They even had footage of him performing “Peach,” which I hadn’t even seen for myself (unless it was part of The Beautiful Experience, in which case I completely forget). Aside from all the Purple Rain stuff that I’ve been trying to put out of my mind until July, they had footage from:

  • I wanna be your lover
  • Dirty Mind
  • Controversy
  • 1999
  • Little Red Corvette
  • When Doves Cry (the video, not the movie footage)
  • Diamonds & Pearls
  • Willing & Able
  • Live 4 Love (from the D&P DVD)
  • Peach
  • Alphabet Street
  • Kiss
  • Raspberry Beret

I may be forgetting a few, but I was thinking “wow” by the end of it. Wow barely covers all the bases.

The tribute was capped off with Patti LaBelle singing Purple Rain. A lot of it was really good, but after a while, I wasn’t feeling it.
What is the song without a killer guitar solo? We didn’t have anything near that, just a random guy playing guitar that I’d never heard of it. You could barely hear it above the band and they weren’t that loud to begin with.

What disappointed me the most… Prince didn’t even perform… it was almost as if he signed a gentlemen’s agreement that he’d come to the show as long as he didn’t have to perform… and he probably gave a list of songs over to the producers that he’d permit them to perform.

Its interesting that two of the four songs were from “Sign o’ the times.” I thought I heard someone on Paisley Radio say he’d been playing those songs in concert more promiently lately… I’d never heard those two performed live at all, let alone by other artists.

If anything, Prince looked very grateful, very pleased and felt very blessed to be part of this event. He came up to the stage to accept and gave a short speech. It took a minute for him to compose himself and a minute to give the speech. Everyone was on their feet and cheering and wouldn’t stop cheering for that long. He finally told them to sit down because he couldn’t take it. Either nerves or just because he doesn’t feel like he should be put on such a high pedestal.

Anyway, he made his usual thanks to his Creator, his Lord, his Father, however you want to put it, very much still a JW.

At the begining of the show, Queen Latifah the host said that Prince was in the house and made a comment “I know Prince don’t curse no more” and then started to sing “Sexy MF” but stopped because you can’t say that on TV.
That’s right, its one of George Carlin’s 7 dirty words you can’t say on TV. Lol… Prince can’t say any of them and then some because of his new faith.

Then Prince said something like “I was a little crazy in my younger days”… and of course, I was laughing. Understatement of the year, man. He also said that there’s a change in America that we’re feeling, the world’s in our hands and whats more, he says its in good hands.

I’ll say this to that.
I probably won’t ever buy any of her albums, but if we had more artists like Alicia Keys, the music world is in good hands.
Unfortunately, if you’re in the same venue as Eminen (wtf was he doing there anyway, he ain’t black… [insert random curse word]), P. Diddy, Jay Z and all those other hip-hop artists, that can’t possibly be true. It just can’t be.

Sure, I’ve become more hopeful about the music industry since the likes of Rob Thomas, John Mayer and Michael Bublé came along.
But the fact they have award shows and are giving awards away to hip-hop artists for creating… I’ve got something so fierce on the tip of my tongue and I can’t even write it down. Let’s just say its a step worse than mainstream garbage, think something worse than garbage.
The industry’s looking better but it probably won’t ever be like it was when the likes of Prince, Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, and The Beatles were on top of the world and topping the charts.

The rumor has it, though, that Prince is releasing a new album on July 10th.
Only problem: FYE and Amazon.com aren’t listing it… so all’s I gotta say is that I hope I’ll be able to snag a copy… I really hate the methods he distributes music these days because they really have me on edge. Unless I hear something beforehand, I don’t know how they’re gonna come out.

The last couple albums, one was in stores as general as you get, nothing short of ordinary. But how he went about LotusFlow3r had me a little nervous because I didn’t know if itd just be available online on the website I refused to pay to become a part of. Luckily available at Target, but the exclusiveness of it… c’mon, you have to understand I’m freaked out.

The way the commercialness of the music industry works these days has me worried all the time. It takes eternities for artists to get a new single on the radio… unless you’re Lady Gaga, which is understandable. I get that and I dig her as an artist because at least she’s not prepackaged and a carbon copy of a particular artist… she’s her own artist, the freak of the decade if you will, much like those two black guys in the 80’s, lol.

The fact that the most recent song Prince has on the radio that gets played is “The Most Beautiful in the World” (Sirius radio “90’s on 9”) messes me up bad sometimes. I love the oldies (gah… did I just say that?) and these days, hearing “When Doves Cry” regularly is a form of salvation for me after whatever tortured me that particular day… but would it really (pardon this) kill you get a new song on the radio, something that isn’t going on 30 years old?

I don’t know whether or not Prince has an opinion on the fact he doesn’t have any new music on the radio… whether he cares one way or the other, but clearly he doesn’t because he hasn’t made the effort.
I don’t know whether he cares that people my age and younger think that he’s only an 80’s staple and to quote a few ignorants “a has-been”… but I’m being straight with you, Prince, its no wonder people think you’re not around anymore. You’re not putting yourself out there the way you used to. I could care less about the fact nothing hits as hard as “Let’s go Crazy” or “Little Red Corvette” anymore… but doesn’t the recognition matter to you anymore? Do you care that nobody knows about your newest music enough to risk buying it if they’ve never heard your work before?

A person can only try so much to reach another. These days, Prince isn’t trying to prove anything, but rather is reflecting upon the first part of his life. If anything, its interesting how he didn’t write “Reflection” for this more recent album but rather the one he released four years before he became 50.
I get all that.

It makes me sad that the next generation of people aren’t going to appreciate your music the way I do as well as the generations that came before. The image 80% of people are going to have is the Purple Rain/1999 image. Maybe a fraction of the remaining 20% will think of you as the freak of the decade that was the 90’s with the name change.
Stevie Wonder probably said it best tonight. Prince’s biggest talent throughout his career was the fact he’d reinvented himself so many times.

Nearly every album had its own unique image and for the heck of it, I’ll list them right now.

  • For You (the afro was his biggest feature at the tender age of 17 going on 18)
  • Prince (the ‘fro flattens and we have suspenders and shorts)
  • Dirty Mind (trenchcoat, bikini underwear, boots)
  • Controversy (the addition of the color purple)
  • 1999/Purple Rain (the infamous purple trenchcoat and that amazing head of hair)
  • Around the world in day (actually, I’m not quite sure what image he had for this album, lol)
  • Parade (black & white, fine suits and those beautiful locks nearly all chopped off)
  • Sign o’ the times (sophistication at its best with a dash of Camille’s androgyny)
  • The Black Album (may be closer to SoTT than LoveSexy, not sure)
  • LoveSexy (long hair, much longer than the 2nd album with a lot of polka dots and bright colors)
  • Batman/Graffiti Bridge (the same long hair, but a little of a darker image, not as colorful)
  • Diamonds & Pearls/O(+> (what I call the “mushroom cloud” hairdo, many different colors)
  • The Undertaker/Come (curlier hair and outrageous sideburns to accompany “Slave” scrawled on his cheek)
  • The Gold Experience (goodbye sideburns, Slave still on his cheek… I wish I remembered more actually, a lot of the image I have of the album is within the special L4OA)
  • Emancipation (no more “Slave”, the chin’s more prominent and what looks like an off haircut to make room for a small O(+> tattoo on the side of his head)
  • Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (long hair, almost like a lion’s mane in some cases, sparkling clothing in some cases tighter)
  • One Night Alone/Musicology (an air of class surrounds him when he starts donning suits)
  • 3121/Planet Earth/Lotusflow3r (the same hairstyle with a great variation of colors and styles)

What Prince wore to the show to night is definitely an original and it was meant specificially for him. It was mostly white but it was like a blank canvas with various things painted on. Some light blues were on the front along with a picture of him, though not exactly. You saw O(+> only with something that looked like it said 20TEN (hint hint, lol)
I loved the back of it, though. If anything, it screamed Paisley Park and it was complete with O(+> in the middle. I might have seen 20TEN there as well. But it looks like it was in a softly painted meadow with a waterfall in the background… that’s how it came off to me at least. It was beautiful to the point I was like “I want it!” I’d take a shirt with what was on the back of his printed on the front… just amazing.

The way he styled his hair is giving it a little of a curl on the righthand side. His face looks the same as it has for the past few years. It probably won’t grow out as much as it has in the past, but I’m thinking something closer to the Diamonds & Pearls look.

Ah, don’t believe me, I’m probably just hungering for the album.

One interesting comment made on Paisley Radio on the D&P album, okay two comments. One, that there’s no distinct image for it (Oh, I beg to differ) and with all the raps by Tony, they were usually places towards the end of the songs, as Ernest said, seemingly as an afterthought, a way to stay current.

I can be thankful the fact that Prince didn’t fully morph into a rap/hip-hop artist. The closest he’ll ever get to hip-hop is on the Black Album. Bob George is the most genius out of all the possible examples.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve gotten so fired up about Prince. My entries have lacked the passion they started with and tonight, I felt like I was starting to hit it. If only I could do that when discussing his music, lmao

If he could see this… I don’t know what he’d think. In the earliest days of this place, he’d think I was crazy, as in a padded cell was needed. I’ve toned things down quite a bit, have put myself into it, talking about my life, other artists I like listening to. There’s a well-roundedness here that I really never meant to have in this particular way. DreamyPop came about to really put Prince into words so I can comprehend the mass of his genius.

What set him apart for me and made me interested in listening to his music and going into it the way I do.
I know he’s very close to music, I know he understands it to the point that every lyric counts and each note is where it should be. He brings something unique to the table…
I honestly can’t put it into a simple sentence. It started with a feeling. I wanted to go beyond just listening to the music and seeing the reasoning behind it all, learn more about him as a person so I’d know how he was able to produce music of this quality.
Ultimately, here’s the bottom line:

The enigma of Prince made me want to listen to the music and I wanted to know the engima to better understand the music so I may appreciate it even more.

Sure, I don’t agree with everything he does in the music and he does these days,  but all that aside, I’ve had nothing but respect since day one of being on this road.

Don’t take my criticisms too harshly Prince if you ever read this, but I hope you can find something in my wrting to appreciate as much as I appreciate your music.

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One Response to Honored @ the BET awards and something a little personal

  1. It was Janelle Monae who sang “Let’s Go Crazy,” and I felt embarrassed watching it. I had heard so many great things about her, so I was looking forward to seeing her perform. Man, talk about a hyper, screechy mess! I HATED it.I agree with you about Alicia Keys; she blew all the others out of the water! The look Prince gave her when she climbed on the piano was a mix of shock and terror, and it made me laugh when I first saw it. Today, I found out Alicia is a few months pregnant! No wonder Prince was alarmed! :)I agree about Patty, too. She kept going a bit too long!

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