Ahhh, Prince. The icon. Fan or not, you just gotta love the guy for his pure, unequivocal, decade-spanning swag appeal, no? Way before that term was even a thing, he intrigued us with his fearlessly bold sense of individuality and innovative style. Luckily, he also had truckloads full of mad artistic talent to go with all of that presence! So, even though he’s been relatively out of view for several years (at least in the form of performing new, chart-topping hits) how surprised should we really be that this legendary swagster still has the ability to turn-us-on-our-heels with a 6 second, quip? His instantly trending, one liner delivered before presenting the 2015 Grammy award for album of the year, was nothing short of swag-filled, precision: “Albums -you remember those? They still matter. Like books and black lives, albums still matter.” His tiny, pointed, power packed statement, was certainly in no way threatening, but nonetheless, decidedly potent! It reverberated instantly throughout the applauding audience present at Los Angeles’, Staples Center, along with audiences at home across the country and beyond-judging from the buzz it produced on various social and other media outlets.
Albums? Still relevant? Well, it does seem that retro vinyl has made a bit of a comeback-right along with turn tables and box record players. I recently wandered into my local Urban Outfitters store and was quite jazzed to spot a small, but enticing selection of brand new LP’s, displayed a mere, few feet away from several retro-styled players. Vinyl aficionados swear by its unmatchable sound quality; and apparently, a fresh interest has spawned, in the technology of yesteryear.
And personally, I happened to appreciate the poignant, little shout-out to the relevance of real, actual, page-filled, bound and covered books. It is subject matter near and dear to my own heart. While I duly admit to being irrevocably, crack-smoker-addicted to my IPAD, there’s still just something old school, magical about the tactile act of page turning, dog-earing and bookmarking the genuine paper pages of a non virtual book-that certain, subtle, je ne sais quoi pleasure and imprinting from the whole experience. Call me crazy, but I still occasionally relish in pulling out my hard or soft bound favorites and re-reading their permanently crumpled or food stained pages, from cover to torn, book flap cover!
Now, I fully realize that Prince, did not in any form or fashion mean to imply a reference to “black lives” with the perhaps flippant, sentimental nostalgia in which I have regaled albums and books. He was simply taking an opportunity to grant his voice to a social issue that’s been brewing for far too long.
While there are things in our present society that we do look upon as no longer useful or expendable or without redeeming value, it is morally dangerous ground and utterly reprehensible for any of us to dare to dismiss or trivialize the life of a human being, because they happen to be black.
Truly, from whom else could we (in earnest) receive such a concise, swag-sharp touché, while wholeheartedly forgiving them for wearing a head to toe, sunkist orange-juice-colored, bling ensemble? And the genius is, he managed it in all of 6 seconds.
Written by Shaunda Titus
Grammy Awards, 2015