Written by Toni Racell
It’s funny how tragedy can open up not only a floodgate of emotions but also memories. How suddenly things you hadn’t thought about in years can suddenly be recalled so vividly.
Right before my 8th birthday I caught the bus with my babysitter to a downtown San Francisco record store. I even believed she told me that she was going to buy my birthday gift early. I went into the record store wanting a Mickey Mouse Club lunch box (they sold lots of stuff) and came out in love with a boy.
You know what I remember most about that day though? A poster that hung high on the wall behind the counter of Popeye banging Olive Oyl..there was clock shaped like a boat wheel covering their sex tools.. My baby sitter tried to explain it (as I am sure I had questions). Hey the 70’s were a very sexual heightened time so I’m sure I had been exposed to things long before I should have been.
When my sitter asked what I wanted I pointed to this
She responded “your mom would kick my ass if I got you that. Pick a fucking doll or something. But I’ma buy it but you can only listen to it at my house and only if I let you okay heffa?” (I would to take this moment to thank that baby sitter for sneaking me Prince music and for my awesome ability to curse like a fucking sailor.)
You better believe that I’ve gotten a fair share of ass whoopings and pops in the mouth. (It wasn’t illegal back then) all in the name of love for Prince. I got in trouble for the pictures I would get from album cover inserts.. I mean seriously looking at a Prince picture back then for a kid my age was like looking at porn almost. He was very risqué…
When “Soft and Wet” would come on the radio I would get in trouble for knowing ALL the words. Adults would say things like “that song ain’t for you to be singing” or ” you shouldn’t be listening to that song”... Then why in the hell is it on the radio ( I would THINK to myself)…
“Soft and Wet” wasn’t the selling track that made me fall for the light eyed boy with the Afro. It was that song “In love” that did it for me. Just play it one day while your staring at his picture and it feels like he’s singing it to you .. I guess that’s how everyone felt about him.. His ability to make you feel like he wrote a song just for you.. And then there was “Crazy You”.. Every time I heard It I felt all free spirited.. Doesn’t it make you wanna dance by the ocean?…
I’m not looking for kudos or trying to stake a claim to fame but I loved him before it was cool to love him.. I would have followed him anywhere… I’m a pre-Purple Rain-Post Prince survivor.. Just letting it all out is healing.
Today was a rough day for me. There was this nostalgia in the air. The coolness of the breeze and sound of the blowing wind that took me back to being a young girl lying across her bed staring at the ceiling while the record player spun. His voice would light me up as I sang his song verbatim, every verse, chorus and adlib… I wish I could turn back time..