Prince Committed Suicide
By Cassandra George Sturges
Just a week or so prior to hearing of the news of Prince’s escape from his Earth suit, I told my students that unlike, Tupac Shakur, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, and Kurt Cobain—Prince was not going to be an iconic legend because he was going to live to be an old man. I made jokes using an old man voice about how Prince would be singing “Little Red Corvette” with a cane barely shuffling across the stage to an audience who barely knew who he was.
I told my students that legends die young, in order to become immortal. For example, I always thought Elizabeth Taylor was much more beautiful than Marilyn Monroe was. However, Elizabeth Taylor’s iconic beauty faded with age and by the time she died we had forgotten about how stunningly gorgeous she was. Marilyn Monroe died in her prime and time captured the essence of her beauty and made her immortal. You can see pictures of her on t-shirts, bags, and posters at most department stores as if time stood still.
I wonder if Prince’s soul overheard me making jokes about him living to be an old and forgotten super star, and he said “F—k you Cassandra. I am seizing my eternal space in time alongside the other irreplaceable iconic legends.”
I am writing this for me, so this may get a little long. So if you need to stop reading, please do so with grace. I need to tell this story.
When people die, society tells us how we are supposed to feel. Employers only pay for time off for deaths in your immediate family. God forbid you are devastated by the loss of anyone else. When someone dies, who is not a part of our immediate family—(who we are expected to and allowed to grieve over)—we have to tell stories to establish with others how much that person meant to us—otherwise people think we are faking sadness or seeking unwarranted sympathy from others.
So this is my scale of grieving: Sniffles, Cold, Flu, and Pneumonia. I have a cold. I am able to function. I am not missing sleep—but I am deeply sad—like an overcast day, a slight headache, or period cramps. I never met Prince. We have never texted. But, I love him. Always will.
Prince’s music is the soundtrack to the first quarter of my life. No body played Prince like the Detroit D-Jay the Electrifying Mo-Jo. Mo-Jo would tell his listeners to hang on and tie a knot when things got tough because he would say: “Remember ain’t Nobody Bad Like you.” Just typing this gives me chills.
I first fell in love with Prince while listening to, “I Wanna be Your Lover.” Although I think Prince was an attractive man, I never thought of him in a romantic or erotic way. Prince exuded authenticity, and raw, unapologetic, artistic self-expression—that clearly stated—“I don’t care what you think of me. I am who I am. Love it or leave it.”
In the mid 1980’s, when it was announced on the news that Prince was coming to Detroit, my brother and I immediately left to go stand in line at the Masonic Temple downtown Detroit to purchase tickets to see his concert three nights in a row. When we got there, people were already lined up around midnight and the ticket office did not open until 8 or 9 AM in the morning. My brother and I slept on the ground with other Prince fans overnight on the cement waiting to get tickets. We got tickets.
The first night when I first saw Prince, I nearly fainted. His stage performance astounded me. He was worth sleeping on the ground and standing in the long line to see him in concert. There is no other entertainer whom I have felt the least bit inspired-- to go to this length to see in concert.
While struggling to accept Prince’s death, of course, I am listening to his song, “Let’s Go Crazy” and I realize that Prince committed suicide.
In his lyrics he states,
So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything'll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby
'Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You're on your own
And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy, punch a higher floor."
Who dies in an elevator? Prince punched a higher floor—H for heaven. I believe that his Earth suit had completed its mission. He did what he came to earth to do. He gave his all and then some more.
Of course, I wish Prince was still here on Earth with me—but I understand that it was his time to go-- because Prince is an Iconic Legend who was destined to shine among the Stars.