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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tarra Bates-Duford

Is It Possible to Fall in Love with Someone You Never Met?

Without giving this question much thought, I initially thought it was an impossibility. However, with the death of one of our most prolific artists of our time, Prince, I have to say loving someone you have never met is possible, it is real. I find this love not only plausible, but can often endure both time and space. My earliest introduction to the artist known as Prince, occurred when I watched my sister Pammy and brother Jeffery prepare for one of his concerts. I watched in fascination as my Aunt Lina helped both my siblings prepare for a concert that was rumored to be for the “coolest” of people. My “older sister” Perri and I anxiously watched as she inspected their overall appearances, insisting in wasn’t cool enough, grabbing material from around our tiny apartment to make their clothing more “punk”. Aunt Lina finally decided upon a lavender and purple knit dress for Pammy, with a pair of stocking which she had removed the legs. She then began to poke small holes through the stocking, placing it on Pammy’s head while pulling her hair through the tiny holes. Pammy looking uncertain as whether or not this “look” was right began to nervously shuffle from foot to foot. Aunt Lina sensing Pammy’s apprehension assured her, this was true punk, this look was “perfect”.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any funnier, it was Jeffery’s turn to become truly punk and ready for Prince’s concert. Perri and I openly laughed as Aunt Lina removed one of Jeffery’s cowboy boots and replaced it with a high top sneaker. Thinking Aunt Lina was going to remove his other boot Jeffery attempted to remove the boot when he was stopped. Aunt Lina insisted he needed to wear one boot and one sneaker for the concert to end all concerts. She then grabbed eyeliner, not lining Pammy’s eye’s but Jeffery’s eyes. I knew then and there I needed to learn more about Prince, his music, and his unrelenting power to persuade others to join the “purple craze”. Excitedly Perri & I asked if we too could share in the magic known as Prince. Mom and Aunt Lina assured us we could be a part of the magic, but we needed to wait until we were old enough to understand and appreciate. Without further delay, Pammy & Jeffrey leave the apartment in pursuit of the concert. Pammy exits resembling pinhead, Jeffrey follows behind resembling a peg leg soldier.

Several hours later, both Pammy & Jeffrey return, looking a little worse for wear. Pammy’s upper lip was extremely swollen, her lip appeared as if it was the size of a small orange. Jeffrey’s boots were scuffed, and there was a trail of eyeliner from the corner of his eye to his hairline. I am guessing you are wondering what happened? Well from what I overheard, Pammy had taken a disco ball to the face, specifically to the mouth when it came crashing down from the ceiling. Pammy courageously, and without remorse took this large shiny ball to the face, all in the name of love, love for the purple one himself. Even now if you look closely you can still see the faint scratch mark over Pammy's lip where the disco ball made contact with her face, serving as a reminder of a concert held by the great purple one. Jeffrey for his part did not endure the evening without battle wounds of his own, he had fallen several times as a result of the one boot and sneaker being of different heights.

My love for Prince only grew after this incident, I guess witnessing the frenzy surrounding the concert changed the way I viewed the impact of artistry. I decided I would teach Pammy’s daughters Zaggy, Lavendar, Vira, & Opal about the artist who had both influenced & changed music as we know it. I would watch Purple Rain several times with the girls, acting out scene’s, memorizing lines, each experiencing their own version of his greatness as a result. For my own efforts, I met one of my former boyfriends while he was auditioning women for the role of Apollonia, for his version of Purple Rain. The movie never went to theaters, but I would like to think this would be one of my contributions to furthering the Purple movement. My other contribution would be teaching my own daughter’s Lizette and Cookie about the greatest artist of our time. So to answer the initial question surrounding can we love someone we have never met, the answer is a resounding “Yes”. Prince has brought so much to our family without having met us, reinforces this “Family of Kings” has loved and will always love the man that changed music and art as we know it.

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