April 2021

Pop Conference 2021, WNYC's The Takeaway, Prince #1plus1plus1is3 Virtual Symposium, 78-88: Prince, Bethann Hardison, RIP Earl Simmons, Celebrating Prince

I can’t believe it’s already mid-April. May is just around the corner. “Time waits for no one.”

Prince: Disrupting Notions of Blackness at Pop Convergence 2021

C. Liegh McInnis, Kamilah Cummings & I will be presenting a panel, Prince: Disrupting Notions of Blackness, at Pop Convergence 2021 on Fri April 23 at 4-5:15pm EDT!

Hope you'll join us! Free registration @ https://popconference.org

Interviewed on WNYC’s The Takeaway about Prince’s Welcome 2 America

On Monday, 12 April 2021, I appeared in a short segment on The Takeaway to discuss Prince’s upcoming Welcome 2 America album release from his vault. It was my honor and privilege to talk to a general audience about Prince. Anytime I can speak Prince's name, publicly, is a good day! Massive thanks to WNYC for the invitation!

You can listen here: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/takeaway/segments/how-previously-unreleased-album-could-impact-princes-legacy

It's so important to talk to general audiences about Prince because, on the same morning, I discovered that my dentist (late 20s early 30s) did not know who Prince was, period. Her response was, "There's a musician named Prince?" And she wasn't being sarcastic.

We all have a lot of work to do still to keep Prince's name on the lips of the children and, also adults, I discovered!

Prince #1plus1plus1is3 Virtual Symposium

#1plus1plus1is3 was a 3-day virtual symposium, celebrating Prince for 40 years of Controversy, 30 years of Diamonds & Pearls, and 20 years of The Rainbow Children, on 26-28 March 2021 (Fri-Sun)!

We had 500 people register on the Airmeet platform from 20 countries including the US, UK, Netherlands, Canada, Scotland, Belgium, France, Germany, Australia, and Denmark. We also had international speakers from the UK, the Netherlands, and Scotland. There was a steady-state of approximately 100 to 200 people at ALL times over the course of 3 days for approximately 8-9 hours per day.

#1plus1plus1is3 was a polished solid production, curated & organized by me. Arthur Turnbull and Krysta Battersby both helped me tremendously with the event.

Be on the lookout for a special bonus edition of the newsletter, once all of the video archives have been edited and posted. Please be patient. It takes a while to edit these.

In the meantime, you can find 12 of the 14 video archives that have been edited and/or posted, so far, including the recurring core four of Zaheer Ali, Anil Dash, Miles Marshall Lewis, and Elliott H. Powell for The Rainbow Children roundtable in the #1plus1plus1is3 playlist on YouTube. We’ll be adding more over the next several weeks in April and May. There will be 30 videos in total.

All three #1plus1plus1is3 Prince Keynotes have been posted. A couple had to be posted on Vimeo instead of YouTube due to YouTube’s copyright restrictions.

#1plus1plus1is3 Controversy Keynote with Dr. Fink & Peggy “Mac” McCreary

#1plus1plus1is3 Diamonds & Pearls Keynote: Scott McCullough

#1plus1plus1is3 The Rainbow Children Keynote: Cbabi Bayoc, Sam Jennings & Afshin Shahidi

Registration on Eventbrite was FREE but we kindly requested attendees to consider donating to the PRN Alumni Foundation!

PRN Alumni Foundation, officially formed in 2017, is comprised of former employees of Paisley Park and the international icon Prince. The group’s mission is to continue the generosity of their late boss who supported opportunities for underprivileged youth to grow in music, tech, arts, and education, and helped alumni members in-need. The foundation also supports urban farming initiatives that create sources of healthy foods where they are otherwise scarce.

You can find the speakers, abstracts, and schedule on the symposium website.

The Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson is not affiliated, associated, or connected with the ‘Prince #1plus1plus1is3 Symposium,’ nor has it endorsed or sponsored the ‘Prince #1plus1plus1is3 Symposium’ Further, the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson has not licensed any of its intellectual property to the producers, advertisers or directors of ‘Prince Dirty#1plus1plus1is3 Symposium.’

Upcoming in June 2021: 78-88: Prince, The First Decade: An Interdisciplinary Conference

On 4 June 2021, I'll be presenting on Day 1 of the virtual 78-88: Prince conference, 4 - 5 June 2021, organized by Dr. Kirsty Fairclough, Dr. Mike Alleyne, and Kristen Zschomler. My talk is entitled “Conjuring the Prince Mystique.” Registration will reopen, soon. Originally, this conference was supposed to be in person in MPLS in June 2020. I miss MPLS!

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P.S. Quote to Ponder from Bethann Hardison

I started this newsletter talking about time. I’ll end this newsletter talking about it, as well.

“I enjoy being an elder and the wisdom that comes with it, but age is something I just don’t give in to. I think more about running out of time.”

~Bethann Hardison in this month’s British Vogue

I never could articulate this feeling of unease and unrest, but now I can put words to it. I’ve ALWAYS felt like I was running out of time, even as a teen.

Thanks to Bethann Hardison for giving me the words to attribute to my feelings and to Tonya Giddens, for posting this quote! I wouldn’t have seen it, otherwise.

FYI. This British Vogue article was written by Dr. Joan Morgan who participated in the Controversy roundtable for #1plus1plus1is3. I highly recommend this excellent read about Bethann Hardison, an extraordinary human being.

Anyone who knows me well should know that I’m absolutely obsessed with T I M E! Even if I’m not talking about it, I’m thinking about it.

I stopped wearing a watch a long time ago because I couldn’t stop checking it. Luckily, I’m not addicted to my smartphone so I don’t treat it in the same way that I treat a watch. Also, I often feel eerily uncomfortable in rooms without clocks. Perhaps, it’s because my mom’s house is filled with clocks in every room. There’s a comfort in certainty (particularly when everything is SO uncertain, lately). Whether you acknowledge it or not, time will move on without you… It’s neutral. So, keep up as best as you can and make the most out of every millisecond with who and what is important to YOU!

P.S.S. Rest in Peace, Earl Simmons!

Prince Lives On Forever Through Us!

On 14 April 2016 at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Prince performed his last concert on his Piano & A Microphone tour. I can’t believe that 5 years is already upon us. I could write a lot more, but mere words really don’t suffice!

There will be a LOT of tributes and articles published, next week on or around 21 April 2021. The tribute that I’m looking forward to the most is from Wax Poetics. I love the deeper dives that they do. Their current article on the resurgence of Broken Beat, one of my favorite genres of music, is excellent, as always.

I’d rather celebrate Prince’s life, rather than mourn it. Besides, he keeps on giving to us! I can’t wait to get my hands on Welcome 2 America! I ordered my copies. Did U?

In the meantime, if you haven’t listened to “Welcome 2 America” you should!! The album will be released on 30 July 2021! I’m on countdown. Are U?