As his close friend and collaborator Van Jones described him in the show ‘The View’: Prince is “not red, he’s not blue…he’s purple…he’s above all that nonsense!”
He understood that truth and reality don’t belong to either aisle of a bipartisan political system.
He was a true humanitarian. He understood that truth and reality don’t belong to either aisle of a bipartisan political system. In the same way that he bent and challenged the boundaries of gender definition, he refused to choose a political party; creating his own vision, his own set of directives based on what he thought was right. It was through this untainted philanthropic lens that he would choose which social causes to support. It was never about how much money he would give to charities; it was always about WHY he did it. He wasn’t throwing money around to get a tax break; there was always a clear purpose and message behind each action: to generate positive change.
When Prince stood in front of a packed Staples Center to introduce the Album of the Year category at the 2015 Grammys, the only thing he said was “Albums still matter…like books and Black Lives, albums still matter”. But he said so much with that! Not only it was a shout-out to the Black Lives Matter Movement , but reminded us of the importance of education and the value of music. But his involvement in these issues and others -like the environment- were nothing new; he had been doing it for a long time and mainly out of the spotlight.
As a strong supporter of education, he encouraged and supported his then wife Manuela Testolini to start “In a Perfect World Foundation”, who according to their mission statement “empower the next generation by creating and supporting programs that provide education, mentoring and artistic expression to underserved and at risk youth around the World”. Now they return the love by building a school in his honor. Within the context of education, Prince also helped the Harlem Children’s Zone with a million dollar check and a gold plated Fender guitar that raised an additional hundred thousand dollars in an auction.
Even though the need for a greener economy is particularly pressing today, it already was back in 2007, when “Green for All” was founded. They want to develop a “green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty”. As part of that initiative, and backed by a large (and secret) donation by Prince, many homes in Oakland now have solar panels.
As we can see, he supported many causes, but none of them was as close to his heart as the pursuit for social justice and the improvement of the African-American community’s reality. In May 2015 he released the song ‘Baltimore’ in memory of Freddie Gray who died while in police custody and also held the “Rally4Peace” concert in that city. The beauty of the show was that the homage to Mr. Gray became an opportunity to talk about justice and change. Microphone in hand, Prince invited the youth in the crowd to fix a system that is broken. Not only he acknowledged the problem, he focused on finding a solution.
The best way to ensure the survival of humanity is to create an environment where young minds can flourish, and by learning from our mistakes, can rebuild upon the foundations we have not yet destroyed. He knew it well and always gave it his all…lets follow on his footsteps.