UPDATED: 12:00 p.m. ET, June 7, 2021
Monday marks what would have been the 63rd birthday of Prince, the performer who preferred purple and paisley and left behind decades of chart-topping, timeless musical hits before his untimely demise more than five years ago.
Sadly, as the world celebrates Prince’s life, many of his fans are also likely mourning the life of Clarence Williams III, the ubiquitous character actor whose portrayal of Prince’s father in the 1984 movie, “Purple Rain.” Williams died Friday, just days before Prince’s birthday, further linking them together.
The musical genius passed away on April 21, 2016, but he certainly has not left the world of pop culture. He’s had a number of posthumous awards bestowed upon him, including receiving a major honor from the University of Minnesota in 2019. The institution—which is based in his hometown—awarded him with an honorary degree for his contributions to the music industry and the city of Minneapolis.
The university even held a ceremony where they awarded him with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. However, the school made the decision to give “The Purple One” an honorary degree long before he passed away.
“Prince emulates everything a musician should be,” Michael Kim, director of the university’s School of Music, said in a statement to CNN. “Society pressures young people to conform to certain standards, and Prince was anything but standardized. Be yourself, know who you are and good things are going to happen.”
In addition, Prince clapped back from the grave after Trump had the audacity to use his music at rallies.
“The Prince Estate has never given permission to President Trump or The White House to use Prince’s songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately,” Prince’s estate said in a statement via Jeremiah Freed, also known as Dr. Funkenberry.
There is no doubt that Prince was certainly a political artist, and he often talked about race, poverty and faith in his music. He was not associated with a particular political party, and he was also open about never having cast a ballot in an American election, or elsewhere.
In 2009, Prince told Tavis Smiley about President Barack Obama, “Well, I don’t vote. I don’t have nothing to do with it. I’ve got no dog in that race.”
He continued, “The reason why is that I’m one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and we’ve never voted. That’s not to say I don’t think … President Obama is a very smart individual and he seems like he means well. Prophecy is what we all have to go by now.”
That said, fun fact: In 1990, Prince gave $2,000 to Minnesota Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, who was a Republican.
We are honoring the Purple One’s legacy with other surprising facts you may not have known.
Happy Birthday, Prince: 19 Surprising Facts About The Purple One
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