tv The Place for Politics 2016 MSNBC April 21, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
but also, look down through the other lens, it's all timeless. the president of the united states among others, putting out a statement today, mourning the death, mourning the loss of prince. suddenly, and at the age of 57, about two months shy of his 58th birthday. joy reid continues our coverage at the top of this next hour. thank you, brian. appreciated. we are all reacting now to the shock of finding out that the rumors that were circulating over social media today, they are in fact true. prince, the legendary performer, legendary singer, produce, writer extraordinaire, dead at age 57. this statement has now come out from the president of the united states on the passing of prince and it reads, today, the world lost a creative icon, michelle and i join millions of fans from around the world in mourning the sed sudden death of prince. few artists have influenced
sound and trajectory of music or touched quite so many people with their talent as one of most gifted and prolific musicians of our time. prince did it all, funk, r&b, rock 'n' roll, brilliant band leader, electrifying performer. strong spirit transcends rules. prince once said, nobody's spirit was stronger, bold,er or more creative. our thoughts and prayers with his family, his band, and all who loved him. that from president barack obama on behalf of himself and the first lady. alan leight, former editor and chief of "vibe" and "spin" magazine. shock an understatement. but tell us what your fondanest remembrances will be of prince. >> shock, as you said, doesn't come close. it's just devastating to lose the great musical genius of a
generation. you know, my memories are, two parts to that. there's time that i spent with him, you know, working on stories and interviews, and fortunate enough to be able to be around him on multiple occasions. but more than that, how central his music was to my life and, you know, how many hours and mou how much joy i took from what he did day in and day out. >> what do you think of this multipart legacy that prince obviously will leave behind? what do you think will be the headline in terms of the way that history will remember prince? >> i think that it's the, you know, the unparalleled genius. very few people that you can put on a list of musicians who could do, as you said, in the introduction, who could write and produce and play all of the instruments and dance and solo and write for other people and do the complete package of things that prince could do.
he was such a one-manpower house unstoppable force and he didn't sound like anybody else. he didn't follow rules that were set by anybody else. so i think that sense of independence, creative bravery, and of absolute focus and ambition, i think those are things that separated him from everybody else out there. >> and alan light, if you could talk about the changes that came after prince really took on the music industry. we hadn't seen an artist do that bv, not on the scale when he took on warner brothers, even to the rights of his name. the way the artists are treated and the way artists are confronted. >> it was the mid '90s, changed his name to unpronounceable symbol and wrote "slave" on his face and went public with a fight that consumed him for the next several decades, to challenge the conventional way
that the music industry operated and to try to find a way to combat the contracts that controlled how and when his music was released, who owned the masters and the rights to his recordings. you know, at the time he was seen as ridiculous. i mean, it turned into a punch line, the whole artist formerly known as prince and people acted like he lost his mind. the fact is, all of those issues that he was raising, they weren't new issues but they've come to dominate the way that we think about the music business today, who controls rights in a post digital age, how does this stuff come out? who's in charge, who sees revenues? that's the focus of all of the attention the business now, i think he saw there was an urgency coming to those issues before the rest of us were picking up on that. >> long before jay z and friends launched title and artists going after streaming services and figure out how you make a living when music is increasingly
accessible on platforms like youtube. prince continued that fight. he continued to grapple with what digital downloading and streaming, what that means for his music and for music in general made by artists. >> absolutely right. if you would go to youtube you would -- it was difficult to find prince footage he had people scrubbing clips of his music, those would go down the next day. he had license to some of the other streaming services but after he did the deal with title, removed his music from the other services, he's experimented over the years with different ways to put his music out. i mean, if you think about it, he was the first to look at the web and start a fan club, he would subscribe to prince and send you music, this was something that he was doing 10, 15 years ago, long before the web was controlling the -- determining wait we received our music. he was always so much a control
freak that he wouldn't give up enough control to do those things maybe as -- with as much focus as needed. a lot of them were experimental stop and start efforts. but his brain always stayed in thinking about what are the difference ways to get music out there, what are the different ways for me to create and control how people hear my music. i remember when i talked to him early on, in the '90s, when i was with him, he said by the time i finish a record, by the time it comes out, i've finished the next record. by the time i'm touring, i've finished another record. it heart to get out and promote this album that's two projects befbinhind for me. how do you keep up with somebody working 24 hours a day the way they did. >> the way he wanted to have his music experienced, the live performance, seemed to be the way that made him the happiest, to perform it. prince concert was a marathon because, as you said, he didn't
want to just perform "when doves cry" and music from "1999" he wanted to perform everything. talk about a live performer. >> nobody could do the things that prince could do. people could maybe a few could sing as well, maybe a few dance as well, maybe a few could play guitar as well, nobody could do all of those things live directly in front of you in the way that he could. it was jimi hendrixs meets james brown meets michael jackson meets stevie wonder. he could do all of those things at the same time. you know he was happy in a recording studio. happy when creating and making new things. but there was this really interesting tension with him that went on for, you know, his whole career, was he a huge arena level, stadium level superstar or was he the world's biggest cult artist who had a million people who would follow him no matter where he went, no matter what he did.
you would see him kind of turn up -- turn one of those sides up and turn one down when he wanted to go out and big the star, he would give the greatest performance at the super bowl or put out a record that fit with his old catalog and play the hits. other times he'd go out and play clubs. he'd play new music, instrumental music, work on ideas. he could work both sides of that and never fully resolved, you know, he wanted to be both. that's a pretty incredible ambition to have. >> yeah, indeed. stay with us. we're going to talk to you later. i want to bring in a dancer who toured with prince for two years and she was pearl from "diamonds and pearl" tour album. tell us, first of all, obviously, condolences as you were a friend and colleague of prince, what are your fondest
memories of him? >> my goodness, there are so many. there are so many. well, prince was a lot of fun, i would say that. we definitely had a lot of banter, he would give me a hard time because i was a casual gal, loved to wear jeans and he loves the girls around him to look like superstar divas all the time. he was not a big fan of wearing the jeans. and i'd give him a hard time because no matter what time you saw him day or night, he was always in his costume, his outfit, he was always in that blazer, that military blazer with the buttons and skinny pants and high heels. never saw him in jeans, sweat pants. i'd give him a hard time. but he actually -- it's kind of an interesting story. we would play around with that, that he shared vulnerably because of his upbringing and because of not having money and the way he grew up so poor, he had kind of made a vow if his
heart, once he had money, he would never -- he would never dress casually, he would always look like a star. >> yeah. >> that's what he did. >> that is what he was. you know, you were introduced to him through his world of music video, it's so important, a gen-xor, loving music individual joez prince one of the best in terms of visual representations of his music, how involved was he in terms of the intricacies, choreography, what dancers wore? how involved was he in managing that part of the process? >> you know, i'm not exactly sure, but i think when it comes to prince, he definite liked his hand on every aspect of everything. he definitely liked to have artistic control. so i'm not sure just how much, but i would guess probably a lot. >> all right. thank you so much. appreciate you remembering prince for us today. i want to bring in toure, author
of what i consider to be the best book i've red on prince and you should read "i would die for you," toure, thank you for taking time to call in. i want to start by asking you unpack, we've heard a lot of comparisons that are made because prince and michael jackson did come out or became sort of hugely popular around the same time, as solo artists. but what made prince distinctive and different during that period, late '70s, early '80s? >> yeah. i mean, look, in the '80s, you either loved michael jackson or prince. there was not choosing one. a lot chose both but hard to love them equally. michael jackson was the sweetness, was the love, was the honey, and prince was the sex and the badass and the more, you know, just grinding parts of
life. and he talked about spirituality a lot but got attention because of the head, the sisters, darling nikkis, international lovers, these songs. the people who were, you know, more interested in that sort of that side of life gravitate towards prince. but you know, he -- he had this really fascinating way of talking about sex and spirituality and they were meant to be mixed in his world. it's sort of judeo christian ethic this country, sex is over here for saturday night, spirituality for sunday morning and there the two shall meet. prince's conception was, no, bring them together, they are meant to be one. i remember the moment describing the sex and the angels are watching and wing that the sex is so beautiful. and that's like how these two worlds combined for him, that we are supposed to enjoy this, we are supposed to god wants us to
enjoy sex. and he also wants us to listen to the message of god. so when you get finishing to darling nikki, let me tell you about my lord and savior. >> they were both jehovah witnesses and how they talked about the influences. we have heard jimi hendrix, talking about little richard and the jegender role play, david bowie doing the same thing. what did prescription do distinctively that black male performers, performed gender in their art? >> yeah, you had those names that you mentioned are right on. i would add james brown, of course, huge, antecedent to prince, and of course, sly stone, right. >> yes. >> prince is coming out of the sly stone family tree.
yeah, i mean, prince was playing with gender before we were talking about gender nonconforming. he was doing that sort of intersectional challenge of like, you know, why can't we be both? why can't i be black and white? he was not actually mixed but he told us that he was. he told us that i can be a little bit of both genders. it was mostly to shock and get people's attention to pay attention to him. but you know, he was very interesting to see him out there wearing women's clothes and not caring. >> yeah. >> not being embarrassed or afraid, extremely -- one other thing, too. it was -- i interviewed him, it was very hard to interview him. he -- he's extremely intelligent and playing with media, playing a game with the media.
he spoke in almost shakespearean way i would write the words down, you had to write, you couldn't record, write the words down, look at them later and say i don't know what that means. i know i recorded this sentence the moment he said it but now i don't know what he's talking about. but he could be fun. he could be -- he would say these sort of things that just sort of would be witty and funny and confusing and i mean, you know, it leaves me sad because he was not done, he was still recording, you know. i have a friend who he just called and said, let's do some songs together, still recording, still touring, still tweeting, still planning to do more. he wasn't done. >> yeah. >> toure -- >> it makes me sad. >> indeed. it's devastating. i think it shocking to so many because he was youthful and
looked so young. i think for some people the fact that he was 57 is sort of surprising to learn today he was sort of timeless. if you had to put prince in a gone ra, did he actually have a musical genre, do you think prince had a musical genre? >> i mean, you know, artists will always, you know, rebel against that. it's sort of like the music industry and music media that wants to put folks into genres so he can be better understood and the artists will always rebel against that. prince rebelled against perhaps even more than others. i mean, he begins with a sort of very edgy funk, thinking about "dirty mind" and it flows into a more soulful funk on "controversy" by "purple rain," he's turned the corn somewhere gone into pop rock. you know, he did not growing up
listening to zeppelin and beatles the way a lot of us did. after "purple rain," a friend turned him on to those sort of influences and around the world in a day comes out sort of like look back at the '60s music. so, you know, he's developing and flowing as we go along. i mean, he really did not like hip-hop, he did not respect hip-hop and struggled how to embrace it or put it into his music, some of the rappers he had during "diamond and pearls" era were cringe worthy. but that's him trying to move with the times. i mean, even during that critical period of controversy, 1999, "purple rain," "around the world in a day" it's different forms. flowing like i said from edgy funk to pop rock to something
recalling the '60s and it hard to say you're in a genre. the guy was so big that he sort of encompassed lots of genres. >> indeed. "i would die 4 you," pick it up, especially now, going back and unpacking what prince did musically. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> i want to bring in reverend al sharpton. it's a treat to be able to speak to you about this on this horrible, shocking day, because one of the things that people don't give prince enough credit for was his sense of activism, how proactive he was in terms of caring about the issues that you have spent your life fighting for. >> no, i think that you know, when i heard this afternoon about his passing, as shocked as i have been, and still am, i wanted to rush out and tell people, yes, he was a musical
genius, and i knew that james brown was like a father to me, i knew him through james brown and would be around him, and michael and i were close, but i wanted to also say, but he had a very hard commitment to social justice and the humanitarian way but not partisan politics. a true jehovah witness. he didn't want nothing to do with politics. i remember when we had escalated protests trayvon martin, he said, reverend, i'm going to send you some money, a substantial piece, get it to his family, but don't tell anyone, don't tell them, but i want to do this. and i gave it to them and i told the mother and saw prince three weeks later. he had them eyes, he said, you told her, didn't you? he would do that from time to time but he would pick his causes but he was all in. he went to baltimore and did a
concert for the families there. he wanted money to go all to the families, called me and said i want eric garner and his family there, they were there. i think that people didn't under stand how firmly he was committed because you couldn't put him in a box. >> right. >> like in his musicing he marched to his own drum, he did that with humanitarian causes, causes that would craft a social justice. he was not the kind of guy call to a rally. when you were doing something else no one else would help, he would call you and say i want to help do that but don't put me in the middle of. the other thing people forget, he personified the revolution for artists' rights. >> yes. >> he gave up his name -- which is unthinkable in the music business, it's a building bra brand -- he gave up the name to fight for the revolution of the masters.
he it was self-sacrificing. relationally changed the whole industry in terms of having respect artists and ownership. this is what michael complained about till the day he died what james brown and others fought for. this is why artists dying today broke. prince led that fight activist side of prince must be underscored in his legacy. aside from the fact that he broke down barriers in his music and his performances. you know, he's one of the few artists, i used to tease people and say, growing up under james brown and being friends with michael, there's very few shows you want to see. i would see prince every time i could. he would send tickets and i would go. he'd do one of the james brown slides, i'd sit right down near the stage, he'd look at me like, you know what that was, but he'd do something else. >> right. >> he could do everybody at the
same time. >> yeah. >> he could play like one artist -- >> jimi hendrix. >> and james brown and michael jackson at the same time and do something you never heard of, which was prince. he hired maseo, james brown's horn man. he had him on the road with him. he was a musical genius, he could do it as no one could describe it. but a firm, very inflexible, if he believed it kind of social activist that i don't think a lot of people knew about because he didn't want it advertised. >> you know what, you named three people, ooh i have to get this in with you, rev, james brown, michael jackson, prince, what is it these artists, what is it in their upbringing or pinpoint something that makes them this driven, this creative, because obviously, prince was a geniu genius. he had a natural gift.
was there something about the way he grew up that made him so driven. >> i talked for hours with him one day at a house he was using in l.a. you couldn't get that out of him. i knew james brown's story in and out. i grew up like a son to him. i talked to michael. prince always kept this enigma, i would always try to zero in, he'd ask me questions about james brown. >> right. >> why do i do what i do. i'd say, let me ask you something, what happened here, what happened there? he would zone out. you could tell after a while that he wanted to be an enigma and he was, you couldn't zone in. but he definitely had that same kind of influence but same kind of innovation that was different that was well different and the difference is, because you meet a lot of people, he wasn't trying to be different. >> right. >> he was different. >> he just was. >> he was ingenious. you can tell somebody trying to
be different to be different. he just heard and operated differently than other artists. >> yeah. >> like he was on fm and everyone else was on am. he was on his own frequency and embraced it. >> he would be in the studio not just as work but this is what he lived in his daily life. >> when i was at that house in california with him all day, we were talking and he wanted to talk about technology and other things. and he said, come here a minute. he walked somewhere, he would do something musically, let me hear something, walk back, and he lived in his own zone. he'd look at me and say, the eulogy you did at michael jackson's funeral, why did you say so-and-so and go somewhere else. you understood he had something in mind you can only guess at. >> stay here. i'm going to keep you here. we have to take a break. we'll keep on checking with you. i want to see if i can talk to you on the other side of the
break. aerial view of paisley park, 57-year-old prince rogers nelson found in the compound this morning. let listen to one of his greatest hits. "let's go crazy." ♪ dearly beloved we are gathered here today this thing called life ♪ ♪ a mighty long time i'm here to tell you♪ ♪ called my old lady for a friendly word ♪ ♪ picked up the phone dropped it on the floor ♪
joe biden come on, baby ♪ ♪ let's get nuts ♪ ♪ ♪ are we gonna let the elevator bring us down ♪ ♪ oh, no, let's go go crazy go crazy ♪ ♪ let's go let's go ♪ ♪ let's go ♪ dr. everything be all right will make everything go wrong ♪ ♪ pills and thrills and daffodils will kill hang tough children ♪ ♪ he's coming
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♪ you're the kind of person that believes in making out♪ >> as we continue to absorb the loss of prince, legendary performer, producer, songwriter and actually a person that has been very much involved in civil rights activism, doing more than making music, a point made before the break. reverend al sharpton with alicia quarrels. i want to pick up with you where we left off, talking about prince and michael jackson, were they rivals, friends, were they -- what was their relationship like? >> i mean, to the degree i knew michael better, but to the degree that i was around both of them, i think they had a very serious respect for each other.
artists always are trying to advance their careers. but it was no -- i mean the press would act like they were hostile, fights and rivalries and all. i think every artist, whether it was michael jackson and prince at the same, james brown and isaac hayes, all trying to get to number one record but had respect for each other and regard for each other. i remember one night james brown was performing in california, i was -- i used to go out on the road, i was like his son, i never worked for james brown, i was like his son, and i said to him, i said, you know that michael jackson and prince is in the audience? both of them sons of mine, that's how james would talk. he introduced them. michael came on stage, prince waved. it was funny how both of them were different in the sense of michael was one that dealt with the limelight but private. prince was private even in
public, unless he wanted to be. and i think they were just different spirits. but i think deep down they understood each other because that lonely kind of road that geniuses walk, they knew it. they knew it in each other. i think they had a deep respect for each other. >> that's an important point. it's a lonely existence. two giants. for prince, as a person, you've interviewed him, was he as mysterious in talking with him one-on-one as he seemed to be? >> prince incredibly mysterious. when he opened up he had that stage and platform. again, i was with him march 18th, journalists, a small group, harry belafonte, he walked into that room, maybe 100, and said put your phones down, be in the moment and let's have a good time. he spoke to us about a biography he was coming out. it's going to be a book of poems, biography of his life, his brother was helping him.
his brother kept it real. he was an enigma. the story of dave shchappelle, prince schooled david and his brother in a basketball game and made pancakes afterwards. prince was an athlete growing up, played basketball, football. he was many different things. >> did he talk about his upbringing? we got snippets, we presume parts of "purple rain" are auto biographical. >> we didn't know much about him. he's given interviews where he talks about his childhood a bit. his father was a musician, that's who he's named after, incredibly close to his mother. started playing piano, his father left behind a beaupiano. that's when he found out he could do. he said, i got this. signed his first label when 18, played 27 instruments on his first album the man is something else. >> a different world, music
industry. he was allowed to make an album a year and you had a time when musical labels tried to develop artists, they didn't put out one album and drop them. he was prolific. >> he was prolific, he made a lot and all creatively such another level because he wasn't just kicking it out to be kicking it out. he had a respect for those ahead of him. i remember he did a thing last time i saw him about a year and a half ago perform, he brought stevie wonder on and i mean, they were actually on the stage together doing the keyboards together and i was saying to people, it doesn't get any better than this. and he had a respect for that but innovate for the future. and as toure, the writer that knew him better, captured him better, said he had his own views of hip-hop and all but respected innovation but really gleaned and had a lot of respect
for giants ahead of him. very much was into that. if he wanted to talk social justice, he would talk to harry belafonte and people. he would have conversations you never would see him leak to gossip columnists, because he was serious. >> he did things people didn't find out. you talked about reaching out to the family of trayvon martin. the death of trayvon martin had a profound effect on people, like prince, behind the scenes decided trayvon martin or freddie gray an issue they could impact. >> impact and identify. but you get people as you know, in front of these in the last couple of decade you have two sets of people that call you. you have those that want to get in because after you get an issue hot, everybody is in. you have those passionate that get really disturbed but you have somebody like prince that wants to weigh in but doesn't want victims to know they're
weighing in, they're doing it because they feel that way. he was in that category. he didn't want the martin family to know what he was and it was stub stanchion. he never discussed it. never brought it up again. i saw many times after that, never brought it up. he was never one that would do that where you meet some artist, tell them i did this, tell them i did that. never brought it up again. >> in terms of artists that do a lot, that we don't find out about later, sometimes until after they're gone, was prince somebody open and interviewed and talk to me about his activism and things like black lives matter. >> he was open in the sense he did the song for baltimore, the concert, music for it. he did public things, he was absolutely open and knew what he was doing. using celebrity to bring light to everything that's happened. we talked about prince being sexually an groj us in.
i don't think he would forget he was an african-american man. eused his platform, what is happening at the record labels is not right. he said the same for situations that mattered. >> an issue, i love the fact you're here to talk about this, for african-americans, hair has always been a political statement. and i mean you went through this transformation your hair reflected james brown and being in family with him and then it changed as you changed. for prince, when he came out with that afro, his hair was no longer pressed, that was a statement. >> and he knew he was making a statement. and he made the statement but it wasn't a press conference. it wasn't a roll-out. he just did it. >> yeah. >> and he did it with such -- it was more impactful the way he did it. >> yes. >> that was prince. i think that the -- his legacy is so multifaceted from the
optics, the hair, the show, the theatrics of his performance to the music to activism. it will take a long time to get your arms around what prince did at so many levels and how long he lasted. one of the other things you don't see now is artists that last for decades like prince. i think people don't realize they're part of the difference of michael jackson and prince, or james brown. these people lasted 40, 50 years. >> right. >> we have artists now, three, four years they're gone, that's the big ones. >> 1978, alicia, first piece comes out, he's 18, and he's still making music as of a month ago. >> 30 albums, 7 grammys. we didn't talk about his oscar win. the man's an actor, too. he transcends music, touches on social issues, technology, award winning. prince did it all. 40 years. >> absolutely. and just subtlety which he got his activism out there.
i'm shocked. i couldn't believe it. i'm very sad. i have makeup on now, but i'm so sad. i was telling people how secret and private, we never knew much about him except what we see and we love. >> prince influence d beyond words, it's surreal. >> it's like michael jackson. >> yes. >> like michael jackson. >> prince, michael jackson, whitney houston, believe it or not, tupac. >> that's right. >> most influential entertainers. all of these people remembered. we will recycle prince's music for ever. >> i don't think that shock is too strong a word to describe what the world is feeling as we absorb the fact that prince, 57 years old, musical legend, icon,
performer, producer, extraordinaire has died. back with you here on msnbc. let me introduce morgan james. a singer and broadway actress and prince allowed morgan to cover his song "call my name" and sang the national anthem of the democratic debate last week. thank you for being here. talk about that experience of being able to cover a prince song. >> you know, "call my name" was the first song i covered when i started my band and when i got my record deal with eping records i corded it with my band and everybody at the label said, don't get your hopes up, it's never going to happen, he doesn't let anybody record his music. the legal -- the legal gities wl be too tough. i knew it would come through. please take this four minutes to listen to this, five minutes
later he said he loved it and gave me his blessing. >> what was special about that song? >> it's so -- it's tender. it's romantic, in a lot of his music is not necessarily tender. and i always connected to that. my version starts out a cappella and i felt -- i felt confident that maybe -- i wished i could have played with him, sung with him, met him, an influence to so many musicians. >> he had a lot of influences that created this amal-gus that prince was. what in his music comes through what you do? >> gosh, if i could be one little part of him, i respect his vision, his unyielding passion for his vision. he was a visionary, he knew exactly what he wanted, much like michael jackson, from the ground up. he could hear vocal line ahead of time, every instrument, he
recorded every single part himself. >> yeah. >> i think about it every time i go in the studio and sing a line. his vocals and the way he characterized his voice, his voices, so i think about that every time i go onstage. >> what did that mean to yous an artist to have that blessing? all of these people, to perform his song? >> it meant everything. i cried when i heard that. it was something i'll never forget. and i think about it, i sing it every single show. >> thank you so much. i appreciate you being here and remembering prince. difficult day for everyone, i think. but that's a beautiful remembrance. vanessa deluca. you have the difficult task of encapsulate this man and career. what is the headline in looking back and reviewing the life of prince? >> just think about what an extraordinary artist he was.
just incredible, an incredible musician, writer, songwriter, dancer, performer. you can't -- it's almost impossible to encapsulate that in one sentence. it's just -- you can't capture that. and you only had to attend essence festival in 2014, 2004, when he performed, to know that. he had the entire superdome on its feet. he just extraordinary performer and it's difficult to believe that he's no longer with us, truly is. >> i was at that 2014 essence festival concert. i can tell you, it was one of the best musical performances that i have ever experienced and prince was really incredible. essence, obviously, a magazine focused on black women. talk about prince in terms of the black women that he empowered through his art istry
vanity, people like sheila e. >> i think it's extraordinary he utilized his platform, his influence to make sure that women performers got their shine, got their due, got their due. when you think about sheila e., of course, vanity, but women like leann, jamelle monet, other women that he personally took under his wing and wanted to make sure they got an opportunity to be seen. i think about lib warfield, part of his band. women with extraordinary talent maybe perhaps were not for him kind of shining a light on them, maybe these women would not have gotten attention and due they should have gotten. think about the new power generation, one of the first male artist, black male artist to elevate women. the drummer was a woman. the bass player was a woman. how important in terms of sort of the musical genres that women
enjoy. we know he was a sexual figure for women that he crossed that androgynous line. how important is prince in that sense? >> i think it's important that even though there was a sex symbol kind of appeal to prince but i think it was always important that he showed a lot of respect for having women as a part of his band that he recognized their experience, their talent. and i think that other women saw that. i mean, it wasn't like there were a lot of other artists doing that at all. when you see an artist at his level taking that extra step, not that they had to do it, but wanted to utilize a platform he had to make sure women were getting opportunities that he saw that he weren't getting, i think that's extraordinary. i think that's a huge reason why so many women adored him and he's going to be so missed. >> yeah, indeed. i want to bring in al callaway,
correspondent for "extra" -- sorry, a.j. talk about prince's legacy when it comes to the things he did as a black man that were off the beaten path, people didn't expe expect, his legacy. >> you're talking about one of most powerful people to walk this planet. he impacted so many people, so many different ways behind the scenes and in front of the scenes as well. i remember many, many years ago him talking to a friend of mine that hat a show that was impacting african-american communities and he was adamant that that person stay on the show and even offered to pay that person's salary on the show, double their salary. he was very, very active when it comes to the community and giving back. >> and his -- part of that
activism showed if his response to the freddie gray situation, when he threw a free concert in baltimore to bring that city back and revive it. those quiet things that prince did, are we going to find out more he did behind the scenes that he did privately that we didn't know? >> i think a lot of the stories will come forward now. a lot of people are still in shock. people that were close to him or still can't even -- i mean the news of his passing has just been a tremendous blow to so many people. but i know these stories are going to come forward, you know. i have personal stories. i know many different friends have a lot of different personal stories about just how giving and caring and sweet of a man he was, as well as talented and extremely powerful. >> what is your fondest memory of prince?
>> he got inducted into the rock 'n' roll hall of fame and did a party in new york city and this is at the pinnacle of my time at 106 and park at b.e.t. he had somebody call me and said i want you at the show, i want you at the show, and everybody was there. and i ended up getting -- i was front row at the show and literally, from lenny kravitz on down, everybody was at the show, it was supposed to be a jam session. we wanted to see a jam session. in the middle of the show he called me up on stage. >> wow. >> i was like -- i had my back to the crowd and i walk over to him, i was like, what? he gives me the mike. he goes, a.j., talk to the people. i turned around and said give it up for the most talented man on the planet. i was short for words for a minute. >> i can imagine. i can imagine. a.j., thank you for those remembrances of prince. truly not just a performer but star in every sense of the world and legend.
as we go to break, with the produces are indulged me by teeing up my favorite prince song, song i will assert is the greatest prince song of all time, of course, that is "purple rain." we'll be back. ♪ ♪ i never meant to cause you any pain ♪ ♪ i only want to see you laughing in the purple rain ♪ ♪ purple rain purple rain ♪ ♪ purple rain, purple rain ♪ purple rain purple rain ♪ ♪ i only wanted to see you
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but it is going to take a total team effort to get through all these shows! now are you with me? three, two, one... watchathon! big is back. xfinity watchathon week now until april 24. the greatest collection of shows free with xfinity on demand. okay. come back. sorry. this i joy reid. talking about the death of prince and let's go to sasha frarer jones, write somewhere music critic. tell us what your fondest memory is of prince. >> there are a lot of them. and it's amazing, how long the span is, can start from very early being a kid, going to j&r music world near city hall, buying his album "1999"