tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN April 21, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
purpose that he fulfilled. >> stevie wonder, thank you so much. again, i'm sorry we're talking under these circumstances, but it's always an honor. thank you. >> tank you. -- thank you. >> stevie wonder from earlier tonight. that does it for our two-hour tribute. we remember the life of prince. right now "cnn tonight" with don lemon. ♪ dearly beloved, we are gathered here in this thing called life ♪ >> this is "cn n tonight" i'm dn lemon. prince rogers nelson died today at the age of 57, found unresponsive in an elevator at paisley park studios. the cause so far unknown, but his death comes far too soon. his music the sound track of a generation, hit after hit after
hit. ♪ leave me standing alone in a world that's so cold ♪ >> five singles like that one "when doves cry" topping the charts, 14 others in the top ten. he won an oscar. ♪ the sky was all purple, there were people running everywhere ♪ >> he won an oscar, played the super bowl halftime show. ♪ ♪ >> and made america and the world dance with music that was ground breaking, uncompromising and always funky. the life and legacy of prince being celebrated across the country, including brooklyn, where spike lee is hosting a block party tonight and telling prince fans to wear something purple in his memory. cnn's randi kaye is there for us
this evening. my gosh, it looks like they are having a good time celebrating this evening. how is the mood there in fort green? >> reporter: the mood is incredible, don. this is really a celebration of his life. you feel like prince is alive and well. he can certainly be heard on the streets of brooklyn. this is prince's party tonight, not really spike lee's party. they've been playing his music. people are hanging out of the windows, these women have been dancing all night. but what's really amazing is the group, there are people black, white, young, old, holding hands, celebrating his life, people born in the 60s, 70s and 80s. he has brought so many generations. so many people love him, have been touched by him. one woman told me when she heard he had died that she was
breathless, many said they were heart broken. he really touched people's lives, he got them through make-ups, breakups and relationships. >> i'm sure you've been hearing the entire prince catalogue tonight. do you have any favorite prince song? >> reporter: i do. certainly "when doves cry." "little red corvette" and of course "purple rain," one of my favorites. how can you go wrong. pretty much just about every song that prince song, it hits you in some way. he was so original. i talked to so many people here. they said he was edgy, he was sexy, he was out there and that's what you feel and i love seeing his life celebrated here on the streets of brooklyn tonight. >> any idea how long this is going to go on, randi? >> reporter: well, you know what? the crowd actually keeps getting bigger and bigger. and the street is now closed off and spike lee, he comes out and encouraging everybody from the
balcony to get louder. it doesn't seem like the neighbors mind. they have their windows open. i think this could go on a few more hours. >> randi kaye in fort green brooklyn tonight. on the phone with me is another legend, that is the queen of soul herself, miss aretha franklin. miss franklin, i'm so sorry to speak with you you on such a sad occasion. how are you doing? >> i'm doing okay, don, doing very well with the exception of prince's passing. it was just so stunning and what a blow. you just didn't expect that. you just never connect that with him. it was the last thing i expected to hear this morning. and, wow, what a bummer. >> yeah. >> you know, we often -- i just saw you last week for your birthday and you look amazing and you live every moment. >> thank you. >> and we often get to talk on such sad occasions, we talk for whitney, we talked for michael
and now we're talking for this. i'm going to talk to dionne warwick a little later. as i rattle off a list of talented people, why do they go so young? >> what was it? >> why these talented people just go so young. >> you know, i didn't know prince personally so it would be hard for me to speak on it accurately, but just observing him from a distance, he appeared to be very healthy, a healthy strong young man. i'm at a loss for words like most of us. >> just like yourself, prince is truly an original, unique artist. >> absolutely. >> what are you going to remember about him? >> i think his uniqueness and definitely an original. there could not be two.
he was musical haute couture. >> he addressed everything in his music like you, love, religion, sex, faith. he was fearless, wasn't he? >> mm-hmm, very outspoken i think and very, very unique. i didn't hear him speak a lot. i saw him from time to time on tv, but as my colleague, of course i was observing and listening. he didn't have a lot to say but he would give you music and he would give you eyes and attitude. >> i was in the make-up room as we were getting ready for this and some of the video came up and the make-up artist said he gave you smokey eye before prince did it first.key eye was. as someone who has been doing this in the business as a legend, you know this industry. he really sort of broke the rules in the industry, fighting for ownership of his music. explain to the audience what is so important for an audience.
>> what was the last part? >> about fighting for ownership in his music, how important it is for an artist to have some ownership over their music. >> absolutely, absolutely. the writers, publishing. and he was uniquely gifted there again to be the producer, the writer and the artist. that was a gift for sure. >> you know, he was just 57 years old. >> and why shouldn't the artists own their own music? especially if you wrote it. >> right. and the writing, that's really the important part because if someone else does your song, it doesn't matter who, you still get the royalties from that as one should, correct? >> yes, that's true. if someone rerecords what you have written, yes. sometimes it's successful, sometimes it's not. who know what is it will be until you put it out there. >> you know, we've recently lost another icon, david bowie. i keep saying to you --
>> natalie cole. >> natalie cole. why do we keep losing so many legends? but really it's the cycle of life and it's sad that we have to be here talking about it but it's also good to remember, it's good to celebrate their accomplishment. >> mm-mm, absolutely. and one must take care of themselves in this business because it can be grueling, particularly for a successful artist in terms of the concert demand and other demands that are related to your success. >> he was just 57 years old. >> very young. too young. much too young. >> he was creative his entire life, writing music, performing. so protective over his work. what would you like to see happen to his body of work? because he recently just purchased his entire catalogue. he owned it. what would you like to see happen to his body of work, miss franklin sm. >> well, i'm thrilled to hear that, delighted to hear that,
that he purchased it. of course that should go into his estate, in the hands of his family. >> anything you want to say to his family and friend before i let you go? >> yes, my heart and my deepest sympathy and my condolences go out to prince's family and to his friends and supporters. >> the queen of soul, miss aretha franklin, thank you, miss franklin. >> thank you, don, for giving me the opportunity to express my respect for prince. >> any time you're welcome here on cnn. we're going to be back here in a minute but prince's first single to hit the top ten, "little red corvette," back in 1983 and the rest, as they say, is history. ♪ lady in a red corvette, baby you're much to fast ♪ ♪ lady in a red corvette
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breaking news tonight, the death of prince, the cause unknown. prince was found unresponsive this morning at his home, paisley park studios in minnesota. what do we know about what happened there at paisley park tonight? >> reporter: that's the big question. he was found unresponsive inside an elevator. someone was calling 911 saying they needed to get someone there as quick as possible. that person didn't actually have
the address for this location. they just kept saying "prince's house, prince's house" and the call goes on to say we need to get an address because we can't track the cell phone. when they did finally arrive, they tried to provide cpr on prince but that did not work and he was pronounced dead at paisley park. i want to so you the scene. this has been breathtaking because of all the people who decided to show up here at paisley park. so many people who love prince come here just to stand on the outside to get some of the essence of this. when you stand here tonight, it such a different story. you see people from all over, people who obviously have been touched by prince, the artist, who are standing together sharing stories about him. we saw one artist in the background painting a picture of prince and some people standing there taking pictures of it, telling stories about what their favorite song was and how he impacted their life. this has been going on for
several hours. the police have been on the inside, making sure no one tries to run behind the gates. but for the most part there's music being played over there by the fence as people show up, place flowers and pictures and talk about stories about how prince, the artist, and his music has touched their hearts forever. >> ryan young at paisley park tonight. thank you for your reporting. i want to bring in one of the purple one's friends. she says he was an inspiration and that's none other than super model naomi campbell. she joins me now on the phone. naomi, he touched so many lives. how are you? what did he mean to you? >> he was a very good friend and he was a very, very painfully shy person that i guess some people might think that he was arrogant because he was so shy.
i grew up with him in music and i'm in devastation. >> i am so sorry, naomi. where were you when you heard? i know that you're traveling. how did you hear about his death? >> right now i'm in saudi arabia working and at first you just don't believe when you hear something like this. i had to call to my publicist in new york because i just wanted to be clear that i understood right. and he said, no, it's true.
but you know, you just don't want to believe that. and i don't -- most of the time -- a lot of the time that i got to know him was through donatella versace, before, during and very much afternoon he was killed, he was so supportive of the family, always very family shows so i basically grew up knowing him from working when i was 17 with versace and after that he would call me and tell me when he was in new york, paris, lond. and i never missed a concert. he's someone who would not sleep and play -- once he played a big concert, he'd play another concert after that. he was so generous and so giving to his fans and to all that
loved his music. and he would just on giving. and, you know, it's -- i don't think anyone in the world is going to sleep tonight. he was just a genius. >> naomi, i want to ask you and i thought about this because i just saw you a couple weeks ago at your book launch, and everything was purple, the cover purple, you were wearing a purple sequinned gown. >> my favorite color. >> did prince inspire you in any way? it was very purple rain prince? >> for everyone in fashion knows my favorite color is purple. versace used to make my purple dresses all the time. anyone that's ever worked with me, it's been quite a few people in my 30 years, but i mean, who wasn't inspired by "purple rain." i wasn't even in fashion and i wanted the frilly shirt with the
tie and the purple boot and jacket. i dyed my hair purple once. >> but he inspired you to wear an afro. i heard you tell my friend wendy williams that he inspired you to wear an afro again. >> yeah. i was very upset one time. i was being pressed by my reality show and i didn't like the way the p.r. promotion was out there and how it infringed on my personal life and i figured i'd wear an afro in my rebellious way and i wore an afro the whole press promos and i had just seen prince in londo me. he was unpredictable. he neff played the same concert twice. in the 20 days that he played in london at the arena, i think i went every time and it was never the same. the concert is always different. i last saw amy winehouse perform
with him. he was a genius, he was just such a genius. >> well, naomi, clearly you're heart broken and you're devastated and our hearts go out to you and to the family and friends of prince and we thank you so much for joining us. you take care of yourself, okay? >> thank you, thank you. bye-bye. name owe ee -- naomi campbell. but playing tribute, "albums still matter, like books and black lives, albums still matter tonight and always." >> one of his most successful albums was the sound track to his movie "purple rain." the title song won him a grammy and an oscar. ♪ purple rain, purple rain, only
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♪ ♪ the i-35w bridge in minneapolis lit up in purple tonight to honor prince. with me van jones, a really good friend of prince and nischelle turner from "entertainment tonight." nischelle, it's such a shock, isn't it? >> reporter: this is a tough one, don. steve harvey tweeted earlier today this hurts like m.j., hurts like michael. there are so many prince fans that have made it out here
tonight just to pay their respects, but one thing that has struck me about this crowd, it's so quiet here. it's eerily silent. no one's really talking. they're just standing and staring and kind of feeling. it's been hard to get words today for this one. and probably just because i'm like all of the rest of these folks out here, i'm just a big fan. >> what are you hearing about his final days? >> reporter: yeah, there's a lot of information still to be known of course, don. there is information starting to trickle out. what we are reporting on "entertainment tonight" this evening and going forward, sources to our kevin frazier are telling us that prince did indeed have the flu, that that flu turned into walking pneumonia, that he was also battling a hip injury. that source told kevin that prince, quote, was not healthy. but we won't know everything until the autopsy comes out. there is still a lot of
information to be known. of course we are following this story because it does seem really crazy to see him one day so up and playing concerts and then the next day we're here, all of us reporting on the fact that he has passed away. so a lot more information that we hope to uncover notice next few days. >> and that autopsy happening tomorrow. >> yes. >> hi, van. so, van, you and i have been talking all night. >> hi, van. >> so what do you want to say? >> well, i just want to say that he wasn't just a musician, he was an incredible musician but that there was a core of genius that just used music to express itself. but he also was an incredible humanitarian. he was a johova witness so he was not able to speak publicly
about his charity. but i was someone who helped him with that. he created something called yes we code, it's 15 major technology companies working with kids in the hood, getting them ready for jobs in technology. he worked with green for all. i was the face of that but he paid for it. there are people in oakland, california that that have solar panels on their houses that they don't know prince paid for it. it's not when you're having a good day, it's when you're having a bad day that he comes to the rescue. i was in a plane that landed and my phone rang and it was prince. i said, hey, what's going on. he goes where are her kids? where are her kids? i said what are you talking about? he goes lauren hill, where are her kids? he found out lauren had gotten in some trouble and the first thing he wanted to know is where are her kids and what can we do
to help? this is just how he was. i guarantee you anybody struggling anywhere in the world, he was sending checks, he was making phone calls, but he did not want it to be known publicly and he did not want us to say it but i'm going to say because the world needs to know that it want just the music. the music was one way he tried to help the world but he was helping every single day of his life. >> van, as a friend and a loved one, what are you guys dealing with today? >> just guilt, feeling like what could we have done? what happened? and just feeling like now people will start talking and you'll start hearing, you know, he was such a private person, the inner circle. if you got on tv bragging that you know prince, you ain't going to know prince tomorrow because
he doesn't like that. now you're going to hear all these people coming out he mentored me, he helped me. he was there for us when we were down. when i left the white house, he was the first person to call. al gore called me and he called me. he had me come to his house, don. i was just feeling so low. and he looked at me and said why are you so sad? i said because i had this great job, i was working in the white house, i was doing good things. he said you're going to do good things again. he let me tell you what you do, van. go to jerusalem, stay there for two weeks and pray. when you come back, sit down and give me a blank piece of paper and write down everything you want to do that you think will help the community and i will help you do it, okay? so i went from working for a president to working with prince and every single thing that i said. i said we got to go to chicago and do something about violence. we did three concers in chicago, don. every community group there he
brought in. there were no vendors. only community groups to help. we went to baltimore. i mean, we went to new orleans. there's so many things that he did. those concerts that he was doing were a cover for him to be able to go into cities and help organizations and help leaders and touch people. and i want people to understand now -- and all of rest of us quit talking just about the music. everybody that's been on this whole thing knows his humanitarian part as well. and how many people he's helped. and i know that we're not supposed to talk about it but it's important that people know when you make it to his level, he said i don't need any more attention but i can't be in this world and see this much pain and suffering and not do something, don't give me the credit, don't give me the glory but he did more and he pushed all of us to do more. i want him to be known for that, too. >> thank you, van. that was special.
i've been talking to you all day and i sent you a note that said take a breath. i appreciate you being so candid with the audience. nischelle, to van's point, he was not really comfortable with fame. he loved the artistry. he had a complicated relationship with fame. let's listen to this interview with larry king in 1999 and we'll talk about it. >> are you interested in the personal lives other people? >> michael jordan. >> you're a big fan of michael jordan. are you interested in how his marriage goes? >> nope. >> how he gets along with his children? >> no, i'm interested in how he gets along with that rim. >> well said. >> amen prince. nischelle, would prince be uncomfortable with the way that we're discussing him tonight? probably. probably very uncomfortable.
but i think also one of the things that he did love and i know van said stop talking so much about the music, but i think that the music also helped us get a little piece of this person who was an enigma but who was so brilliant. and for a lot of us of our generation, his music was soundtrack of our lives in so many ways. and i can tell you the first time that i saw "purple rain "i a the feeling i felt and i fell in love with this man who was so very androgynous in so many ways, this man who was so feminine and so masculine and so fantastic. i remember the first time i met prince, it was at a basketball game, at a lakers game. he was sitting front row with snoop dog, just hanging out. i was so nervous to say hello to him because i didn't know what
he would be like. but when i said hello, he looked me straight in the eye and said, "hey sister, how are you." he was very soft spoken but very respectful and polite and wonderful. so, yeah, he would be. he would be probably very uncomfortable but i would tend to say i don't care because i think he's that fantastic of an artist that we have to celebrate that music. >> van, hold on. we're going to do another segment with you so i'll get your thoughts. to your point, nischelle, he was a gentleman and he was thoughtful. they don't really make them anymore. oh, so very important to have those old fashioned values. sand by. but first an early prince song one of my favorites "controversy." in true prince style it pulls no punches. ♪ controversy
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an all-night dance party is going on tonight in prince's honor. the purple one sat down for a rare in-depth interview in 1995 and described why he dropped his name and replaced it with an unpronounceable symbol famously becoming the artist formerly known as prince. >> you're a symbol. how do you promote a symbol? >> well, what we found is throughout the world if you hold this up and show it to people, what they think of, they will say prince. >> obviously. so you obviously made it famous. >> yeah, i think so, yeah. >> can you tell us what it signifies. >> me. >> i mean, how you chose it. you designed it? >> it's sort of come about over time. i've always morphed the female and the male symbol together. >> show it again. let me see it.
>> it works. >> it's very cool, ain't it? makes for great jewelry, too. >> back with me now, a good friend of prince, van jones and the host of "entertainment tonight," nischelle turner. so, van, he recently celebrated a huge milestone that doesn't happen for a lot of artists about owning his own catalogue. that was huge. >> yes. part of the reason that that symbol came into being, he didn't talk about it then, there was a lawsuit that was going on. as a young person, 17, 19 years old, he signed these contracts that essentially gave everything to the record industry, even his name. now, his mother named his prince rogers nelson. that wasn't a stage name. yet in this legal fight they said you can't even record under the name prince. that was a searing injury for him. he said hold on a second, my
mother named me prince. how can a corporation tell me i can't use the name my mother gave me? and he started writing slave on the side of his face and he said i'm going to use this symbol nothing can pronounce but that set off a 20-year war to get his masters back, his catalogue back and he succeeded in doing it. a young woman, his manager, who gets too little credit, she had no law degree, she was a tough sister, organized labor background and she beat the crap out of these executives and got him his masters back and his whole catalogue. and the weight -- i mean, to see the weight come off of a human being, i never -- nobody understood that that injury was in his mind every minute of every day until he finally got his music back. he was a black man whose music
was stolen by the industry and who got it back. and i say that deliberately a black man because he saw what happened to james brown, he saw the struggles of the jimi hendrix, of a little richard, of sly and the family stone, of larry graham, all of his greats who had come before him, all of them the industry beat them, and he emerged victorious before he died. and i give thanks and honor and praise to faydra ellis lampkin and i will take that to my dying die day to see prince get his music back. >> in order to do that, you have tore strong, you have to be fearless. even lose your name. he lost his name at one point and got it back, as van said. >> it's the ultimate story of betting on yourself.
i've been talking to a lot of celebrities today that i'm good friends with and, like van said, if you bragged about being friends with prince, you weren't going to be friends with him the next day. people i'm very close to finding out these relationships they had with prince that i didn't even know about and how close they were with him and talking about -- van was mentioning this but, yes, he was a gentleman but just funny and he was a man and he was a home boy and he was all of these things that a lot of people didn't know. didn't know. but the private prince was just -- he was a brother. he was a brother to so many people. and i think that's fantastic. and it hurts to have to talk about this now, but i think it's wonderful for the world to know just how complex and wonderful this man was to so many people beyond the music, like van was saying. >> i want to read this to both of you and to our audience. this is from the white house today. it says, "today the world lost a creative icon.
michelle and i join millions of fans from around the world in mourning the sudden death of prince. few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly or touched quite so many people with their talent. as one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, prince it did it all, funk, r & b, rock 'n' roll, a virtuoso, a brilliant brand leader and electrifying performer. a strong spirit transcends rules, prince once said and nobody's spirit was stronger, bolder or more creative. our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his band and all who loved him." >> he could write, he could sing, he could do it all in this industry, which is what most artists aspire to be.
>> across the board. another great thing was him getting a chance to play in the obama white house. that was something he had wanted to do and was able to do before the end. and then the crazy thing was then he goes on this most recent tour and he says he wants to just be him and a piano and a microphone. and we all just thought, okay, he'll change his mind tomorrow because he likes to have like 12 horns and all that stuff and the dancers. he goes, no. now for me it was bizarre because when you're at the house, everybody has to play. i mean, i don't have any musical talent but he'll hand me a tambourine. everybody has to play. he just loves everybody playing. now, how is he going to go sit on a stage with no band? and it was brilliant. these last shows were brilliant. that atlanta show was beyond brilliant. and it was almost like he just wanted to show the world if you strip it all down, take away the horn section, take away all the
extra keyboardists, take away the dancers, take away everything, just give me just from here to here, just this keyboard and one microphone and i can move the whole world and he did it. nobody else can do that. >> that's when you know somebody else is talented, when they can sit there with just the keyboard or just themselves and their voice and do it. final word, nischelle. >> i was going to say van was talking about being at the house and those type of things. just so you all know the hottest invitation ever in hollywood was the impromptu parties that prince would throw. if you got an invitation, if you were at that party, that was a memory that you you took forever but everybody wanted to be at a prince house party. and i never got an invitation so, van, you're a lucky fella. >> there are lots of parties going on tonight celebrating the life of prince. >> absolutely. >> and there are live pictures
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the last cover story of prince. gail, thank you for coming on. i wish it was under better circumstances. >> me, too. >> you wrote the last billboard cover story would w prince in 2013. you flew to minneapolis to speak with prince at paisley park. you were nervous going into this interview. why were you? >> i was nervous because for one thing i got a call late sunday afternoon, i flew out on a monday morning, late sunday afternoon asking me have you ever talked to prince? we want you to fly out to his paisley park and interview him in the morning. we knew we were giving him the icon award and doing the bill board. i was excited because he was at the top of my list to talk to all my years at bill board. secondly, i knew he didn't like
people recording him or taking notes. i'm on the plane texting his manager at the time saying can i record this and i'll tran scribe it there at the studio? she's like no. can i just take a couple of notes in my notebook? no. i just didn't know what to expect. i'm excited because i am a rabid prince fan like a lot of folks are and just trying to mull in my head how do i do all this, you know, embrace this opportunity and not be the fan girl and go, oh, my god, it's prince. but inside that's what i was doing when i got to the studio. >> that's what i do when i have to interview people like aretha franklin. like you with prince, i don't want to be a fan, i don't want to be a fan. but you're just human. prince was in the middle of rehearsing when you arrived. what was it like when you
arrived at paisley park? >> i had never been to minnesota. the cabbie, i gave him the address. it's january, it's winter. there's ice in the parking lot. he's looking at me because there's no signs. i guess i thought i was going to see the symbol in front announcing it was paisley park. and he's looking at me and saying are we in the right place? i said i think so. and then his manager came out and walked me in. you see the symbol as soon as you walk in. he was working. he was auditions with a girl band, auditions for a drummer. it was in his vast studio where he did a lot of jam sessions and parties and things and he's on top of this tall platform with i'd say about 15 steps and he came down and took my hand and walked me up the steps, so i'm sitting on top of platform with him and the ladies and he asked me what do you want to hear?
and one of my favorites is "let's go crazy" but i really wanted to hear "sexy" which i knew i couldn't ask him. but it was something to be sitting next to him as he played the piano and the guar. >> in your bill board story, this is the first line" i was reluctant to let you come, says the man sitting in front of me, until i heard that you're planning to do a story about ownership." and i read that because he famously dissolved his nearly 20-year relationship with warner brothers records back in 1996 and his key issue became music ownership. he wanted to emancipate himself from the label and eventually ended up getting his music catalogue back. tell me about that. >> well, he had gotten wind that i was going to write an essay about black radio station
ownership and how those numbers were declining and it fit in with his whole thought process on ownership and way before anybody today thought about owner their masters and things like that and controlling everything, that was prince. he was diy, you know, following the foot steps of sam cook and a ray charles. but he -- before he even talked anything about music or anything at all, he took me in the conference room and said we need to sit down and talk to see if we're going to vibe before we go any further. that's the first thing he started talking to me was about ownership, about how he'd been meeting with different companies to see if he wanted to sign back up with anybody and he wasn't too sure about all what because, again, he thought it was at the mercy of the artist and that are the artists weren't being treated very well and he didn't want to deal with that situation anymore. >> gail mitchell, thank you. you take care. >> thank you. you, too. >> here's good measure of just
how well prince music is and how well loved prince is. you're looking at the top 50 songs on i tunes tonight, all prince and the same on albums. all prince. just in case you're wondering why we're covering this so much. here's "the most beautiful girl in the korworld," his only sing to reach number one in the u.k. ♪ could you please, the most beautiful girl in the world ♪ strange to see you're the reas -- it's plain to see ♪ you're the reason that god made a girl ♪ ♪safelite repair, safelite replace.♪
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♪ ♪ the world mourning the death of a superstar tonight. you're looking at the historic apollo theater in harlem where fans have been gathering all night to pay tribute to prince. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. the super dome in new orleans lit in purple to honor the man known as the purple one. prince rogers nelson died today at the age of 57, found unresponsive in an elevator at paisley park studios. the cause so far unknown. but prince leaves an incredible musical leg o