Black music artists who inspire us | Prince - Purple Reign

By: Eric C.Fri, 02/04/2022

When Prince Rogers Nelson died on April 21, 2016, he left a massive, gaping hole in the lives of millions of music fans around the world. The news of his passing was an immense shock to the global music community, and still today, many fans (including us at Qello Concerts), continue to grapple with the reality that Prince has shuffled off this mortal coil.

Purple Reign is a documentary about the life of the celebrated musician and Black icon who sold over 100 million albums worldwide, while fighting injustice in the music industry and battling for control of his artistic output, one funky track at a time! When the legendary musician died at his home in Minneapolis at the age of just 57, he left an unparallelled legacy.

As a prolific producer/songwriter, his output was a steady stream of hits that defied genre - he was, like Hendrix, a guitar god, but he also played up his mysterious angle to always keep fans and the industry on their toes. Ever the iconoclast, Prince was also a very vocal Black activist, but in his own way - making impassioned speeches about Black Lives Matter at the Grammys, performing impromptu songs about Michael Brown and Freddie Gray in Baltimore to help support a community in grieving. He cared so much about his community, and about being an example to emulate, but, as we know, he never conformed to traditional norms, which made him that much more special.

Purple Reign, available on Qello Concerts, begins at the end of his life - specifically the 911 call from Paisley Park when Prince was first discovered in distress, and goes on to show the massive outpouring of love and grief in the immediate aftermath of the announcement of his passing. Using a combination of interviews with experts and biographers, as well as archival footage and music videos, the viewer is taken on a journey from the early days, through to the big hits, like “1999,” “When Doves Cry,” “Kiss,” plus his later career moves, including changing his name to a symbol, assembling the New Power Generation, and what is largely considered the greatest Super Bowl halftime show ever, when the Purple One took the stage under an intense downpour at Miami’s Dolphin Stadium for Super Bowl XLI, and simply destroyed with incredible performances of hits like “We Will Rock You,” “Let's Go Crazy,” “Baby I'm a Star/Proud Mary/1999,” “All Along the Watchtower/Best of You” and, of course, “Purple Rain.”

You can catch the documentary here.

Discover our Black History Month series here!