Learning of the passing of Prince this week brought up memories of my childhood growing up in a decidedly blue-collar suburban area just outside of Portland back in the 90’s. In those days that I was surrounded still by bigots and racists that were growing angrier by the day as they watched their ideals challenged and their decades old grip on morality and social roles erode. Those city folk just on the other side of the county line in Portland were destroying society in their minds.
For my part, I was a humble, straight kid who balked at the haters openly. I was easily (and often) singled out by my peers as being a weirdo, having a disproportionate number of emo, gay and bi-sexual friends. Furthermore, my fascination with the arts and many things considered “sub-culture” often earned me judgement from others I didn’t deserve. For that matter, nobody deserved it.
Prince showed many of us men that we could be straight and participate in a culture where the language is love and respect. I remember thinking often about how straight men could be better beaus, husbands and fathers if they would learn this simple language and take it to heart. I still think about it today.
There were a few I knew that thought Prince was an awful, Godless, closet homosexual who was a nuisance to the world. They chastised him for his appearance. Declaring him unfit as even a second-class human being. I could not stand these people. They brought nothing but deep seated hate into the room. They were wrong on all accounts, yet couldn’t see past their templates of what people ‘should’ be.
Prince challenged comfort zones that people didn’t even know they had. He would say in many interviews that people used him as a mirror. They would project their insecurities, hate and anything else that darkened their hearts onto him. It didn’t seem to bother him.
Rest in Peace, Kid.