This Muslim woman, born in the 80s, who grew up in Flint, Michigan and has a two-year-old, gives away donuts to people on the street and is about to start a Masters in Divinity is in complete shambles because Prince has passed on. My Prince. My sweet Prince. Whether you believe in reincarnation like he did in his former years or in the Kingdom of Heaven like he did in this latter years, it is my belief as a Muslim that he is experiencing beauty and love with the Divine now.
Yesterday, I was thinking about the music that I've been working on for my upcoming album and I thought of Prince, a sort of demigod who uplifted the masses through music. I went online in search of Prince videos to recommit myself as a devotee. I texted my producer letting him know the depths of my love for Prince in case that might help him to know me better in building this album with me.
I went on the local NPR station and someone called into the show with a comment about our #AskAMuslim project. She said she was an elderly black woman and went on to describe how she's only ever seen the kind of discrimination that Muslims are facing right now in the discrimination and racism that black people experienced and continue to experience in America.
She rocked me and all I could do was tear up for all the injustice in the world. I could only express to her that #BlackLivesMatter and #antiIslamophobia work are combating the very same problematic ideology. Not only because one third of American Muslims are black, but even more so because ultimately all of these symptoms rise from the disease that is fear of the unknown which leads to fighting that which we do not know.
Prince was a proponent of getting to know what we did not know. Prince believed in educating ourselves about this realm and the realms of inner sight. Prince always stood up for what he believed in and wasn't afraid of making waves.
There are live recordings of Prince shows floating around the internet. Once upon a time I had some of these prized digital possessions. One comes to mind now where between songs Prince speak-sings "I did not come to preach tonight..." and then carries on to preach about love, interconnected, oneness, unity and beauty. He struck me to my core and had me weeping. Then seeing him on The New Girl, trying to save a relationship, even one of mere characters on a show he liked hearing him say, "Anything beautiful is worth getting hurt for." This beautiful man, living beauty.
Prince was the perfect combination of living the path, internalizing the path, spiritualizing yourself and then finding that reflect in the quality of work you produce. He was excellent. Remember his Super Bowl performance? Purple Rain and God rained down on him, as if he were so close to the One who produced rain and feeling to construct something that gorgeous and synchronistic. This is the legacy of Prince I carry in my heart.
You may have your criticisms of Prince. But let us not speak ill of the dead. There is enough negativity in the world. Let us celebrate the beautiful, the wild, the lovely. Let us remember him as he would have wanted to be remembered: an open heart, a maker of electric and gorgeous music, a free spirit and a lover of beauty. A devout vegan and Jehovah's Witness, Prince's example is strong and solid for me as a Muslim woman navigating my own path.