Recently, during a Paisley Park re-zoning of Paisley Park hearing before the City Council of the city of Chanhassen, Joel Weinshanker, (owner and CEO of Graceland Holdings – the company tasked with presenting Paisley Park as a museum), said that he is a “fan” of Prince. He also said that he would neither touch nor change anything. Those comments ring hollow in the ears of true Prince fans, who refer to themselves as “fam” and not “fan“. (Prince himself was the impetus of that term, disliking the word ‘fan‘ and its origins, referred to all of his fans as “fam“.)
The reason his assertion rings hollow is based upon his actions. For, the results infer that he could not have ever have been a true Prince ‘fam‘ nor is he now. Otherwise he would not have limited the museum to becoming a musical circus act with Prince’s legacy placed within that sort of cage, allowing the essence of Prince to get lost in that circus. He clearly has no clue as to whom Prince really was and if the answer to a few questions produces a response of ‘no’, then he has not done his job with regards to the museum which is supposed to honor Prince.
Did he ever hear Prince speak? Anyone who has heard Prince speak would be well aware of his quiet dignity and would
Prince onstage at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards
never associate him with ostentatious displays and would be certain that everything within the museum possessed that same, quiet dignity.
Did he ever see Prince perform? If so – he would never have allowed for the sound stage upon which he performed in Paisley Park to be removed to become a “Purple Rain” room. Albeit that is the song via which Prince is most known by all – his performances there and worldwide were spectacular. And even though it is known that he would not be performing again on that stage, those who never witnessed one of those performances would want to see the stage, just to be in the room with it as well as those who did witness those electric performances. It was a source of pride for him, and an outlet to perform for his fam whenever he chose to do so.
Does he know about the personal growth of Prince? Or, does he see Prince only as the young man who jumped from high places doing the splits on stage when he was younger? He would do well to listen to songs such as “The Only Love There Is, Is the Love We Make”, “Dear Mr. Man”, or “The Holy River”. The personal growth of Prince was indeed, amazing and beautiful.
Does he not know about the causes that Prince championed? Does he not know about Prince’s philanthropy and generosity? If so, then why is there no place in the museum which informs the public of this? The millions of dollars he gave to various causes? If not then he should take a look at this list incorporated in a petition to make Paisley Park a national landmark. https://www.change.org/p/barack-obama-designate-prince-rogers-nelson-s-paisley-park-as-a-national-historic-landmark/u/17626949
Does he not know that Prince gave to local elementary schools so that they could purchases instruments for those children to learn to play an instrument?
Does he not know the reason for the title of the album as “Emancipation”? Or why he had the word “slave” written on his cheek?Does he know the reason for the glyph known as “the symbol”?
Does he not know that Prince invented and patented the “keytar” or as musicians call it “the purple axe”?
Does he not know about the loyalty of Prince to his friends? Spending his own money to help friends in need when they faced hardships, illness or adversity? Prince was there for them.
All of the above should be incorporated into the Paisley Park museum. This is why many of Prince ‘fam’ is concerned.They know the true essence of Prince, who he was, and what he stood for. And one of those things was truth and dignity, and anything less is unacceptable.
As for the fence and the memorials, a virtual fence is not the same. Fans coming from around the world want to leave something at the site that is tangible. It is a point of real, not cyber, connection. Yet Weinshanker told the city council that all of the memorials had been saved, and archived. And the council would have believed him until one Prince ‘fam’ who went to the fence and rescued the items that were left in the ground … in the mud came forward during the hearing. Even a souvenir tambourine from one of his tour performances was left in the mud, illustrating that perhaps the assertions of Mr. Weinshanker were disingenuous at best.
And no matter whose idea it was, Prince would not want his ashes on display, but clearly would want them in a place where people could choose to go and pay their respects in that way, and not be forced to see it. Yes he loved the room in which they are in, but he loved his studio even more, and clearly that is where he spent the most of his time. And even more appropriate would be to place his ashes in the round building, surrounded by the memorials which fans leave at the fence. Those who knew him, know that Prince would love to be surrounded by those memorials in a quiet place. Leaving those who wanted to see it, the choice of doing, or not doing so.
Joel Weinshanker, (the man who recently purchased all of the intellectual property of Elvis Presley, and who owns a company which makes entertainment trinkets-‘Naitonal Entertainment Collectibles Association’), needs to understand that he is dealing with the memory and a legacy of a man who was far more than a t-shirt and a mug.
Kudos to Chanhassen City Councilman McDonald who emphasized that there must be a way for fans to leave their memorials and seemed to understand the need for them to do so – but to be able to do so safely. Kudos to the ‘fam’ who appeared at the city council to stand up for the Prince that they knew. As one “fam” (L.Dyer) stated so eloquently, “Prince was about perfection and excellence.” Prince stood up for what he believed, and right now, that is what his fam is doing for him. Kudos to the mayor of Chanhassen for his dedication and determination to see Paisley Park become a museum in the city which Prince clearly loved dearly.
There was and is far more to Prince Rogers Nelson than music, and Mr. Weinshanker should do his homework and make certain that the Paisley Park illustrates that fact. Since it is still a work in progress, he would do well to consult with some who knew him such as @drfunkenberry and other fam to make certain that it is done right and with the proper tone and respect. Prince and Elvis were two different individuals and what worked for Graceland may not be what is needed for Paisley Park. Just sayin’ ….