Tag Archives: Purple Rain

Opinion: Joel Weinshanker Is Not A True Prince Fan



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

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.

prince-playing-guitar-2Did 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”?

prince-patent-keytarDoes he not know that Prince invented and patented the “keytar” or as musicians call it “the purple axe”?prince-keytar

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’ ….


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Good-night sweet Prince


price's piano after last show

Prince’s piano and mic after his last public show

              Prince’s last concert in Atlanta,Georgia, summed up his continuing evolution from the young man with his guitar who was everywhere on the stage – to the mature man on the stage with only his piano. He had nothing left to prove, yet this intimate setting did prove, among other things and that was the fact that all he needed was his beautiful music – his extraordinary musicianship,and his fans.  For those who attended – it was a wonderful experience, and as he gave to them, his audience gave back – singing back to him or with him – as they had always done, even when the stage was filled with a band, vocalists and such.  

             Now, since his passing – the refrain of Purple Rain has echoed all over the world inherent within the sadness which words cannot speak – so the world sings its sadness – as if singing to him, for him, about him and at the same time allowing the sadness and love to  escape into the universe itself.  One must know that, for a couple of nights – this big blue ball we call ‘earth’ – turned purple, witnessed by the international outpouring of grief, including the lighting of landmarks bathed in purple light. The musical tributes fill the air with even ‘The Boss’, (Bruce Springsteen),opening his show with a tribute performance of ‘Purple Rain’,Aretha Franklin singing Purple Rain at the White House;Minnesota Wild bathing the arena in purple light, and so much more.Prince-Purple-1984-BIllboard-650

The truth is that it appears as if each individual thought Prince belonged to them alone – for all those times when dancing to his music, or crying to it, when it was just them and Prince, an intimacy was formed between artist and fan that cannot be compared. Perhaps that personal feeling is what each fan carried within their hearts for his fans had nothing to prove either – Prince was theirs and that was just that.  Commencing with the early years, when it took courage to be a fan – when he was such a different and bad boy. But even then, fans refused to abandon him, while and giving a figurative finger to the ‘establishment’ which had initially tried to ostracize him, and remained fans until his dying day, .  Those fans responded to Prince with voices and record purchases which shouted: “Do you! ” And that is exactly what he did. Prince did Prince – and took us all along for the wonderful ride, and we loved it. And, amazingly, as time moved on, the children and grand children and even great-grandchildren of his first fans were added to his fan base – an artist whose reach actually did span generations.

Prince sitting on purple piano

Although we thought that we knew him – stories are now resurfacing about his beautiful and unselfish generosity. Prince in whiteClearly he did not do the things which he did for the approval of others: paying medical bills for those in need, providing financial support for the family of Lauryn Hill family when she went to jail; reaching out to Van Jones when no one would talk to him; financing Malcolm X  for Spike Lee – proving what his fans knew, intuitively, all along: that he had a good heart and that he was kind, caring and wonderful person.

His fans watched his life – and were happy when he was happy and sad when he was sad. The loss of his child was such a private thing – and it is something which no parent ever gets over. But he suffered in silence – not addressing it publicly. And more recently, the death of Vanity – also suffering in silence. And his silence as to his personal suffering said even more about him – no public pity party for Prince.

English: Prince playing at Coachella 2008.

English: Prince playing at Coachella 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prince playing guitar

Prince playing in rain 2007 NFL halftime performance

Although some were critical of his determination to keep his music off of youtube – only now are we learning that it was not about selfishness at all – but his perfectionism. He could not stand the thought of his music being played via inferior quality such as the grainy videos now surfacing online.  And he was very particular about his lyrics being written – but only because so often they were incorrect. During an interview with Tavis Smiley – he referenced a time when his lyrics to the famous opening line of When Doves Cry “Dig if you will, a picture, you and I engaged in a kiss” as having been written by someone as”Dig if you will a picture, me Marvin Gaye and the kids” or another person he knew who thought the words ‘little red corvette’ were: “pay the rent collect” and when he told these stories, even the crew on the Smiley set could be heard laughing in the background. So he was actually protecting his lyrics – not in a selfish way – but in an artistic way. No one would dare view a Micheal Angelo painting and have the audacity to take a brush with paint and add to it – well Prince felt the same about his music.

As this world moves forward without him in it, we are left not only with music, but happy and exciting memories. The shows and performances which could only be described as “lightning in a bottle”  with music flowing from his entire being. Prince did not just create music. Prince did not just perform music. Prince did not just ‘do’ music. Prince was music. And many will now spend their time in the “wreka stow” looking for that music. He will be so very,very much missed by family,friends and fans.

Rest in the peace within which you lived Prince.

We only wanted to see you laughing.

prince face in purple

           “I only wanted to see you laughing.”

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