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Ole Miss Students React to Music Royalty’s Death

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Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/Prince And the 3rdeyegirl

Thursday, the world said goodbye to yet another music icon.

This past January, it was the legend known as King of Glam, the Thin White Duke, the Man who Fell to this Earth, Mr. David Bowie. Now, the world sends its salutations to the singer, known by many aliases, who simply went by Prince.

Prince Rogers Nelson, 57, was found unresponsive early Thursday morning in an elevator at his Minnesota home. He was most famously known for massive hits such as “When Doves Cry” and “Kiss” and for his album Purple Rain.

“I’m sad and shocked,” senior Will Shirley said. “There wasn’t much information to be found about his death, and it left me a little confused.”

Authorities are conducting investigations into his death, which might have been the result of an earlier illness. Prince allegedly had influenza the few weeks prior and had to cancel several concerts this month. He also reportedly had to seek emergency medical attention in Illinois during his most recent tour.

“When the news said he died, I didn’t want believe it at first,” senior Renee Malone said. “People make those fake death articles sometimes, but when I searched it and saw it was true, I just felt horrible.”

News of Prince’s death spread across social media, with celebrities such as Samuel L. Jackson and Kaleena Zanders expressing their lament. It even reached the White House with President Obama stating on Twitter that he did it all by being a “virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader and an electrifying performer.”

“His guitar playing taught me that you can shred and still keep a high level of personality, soul and elegance,” Shirley said. “It’s that type of shredding that a lot of guitarists lack when they are simply running scales at a blistering speed.”

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/His Royal Highness
Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/His Royal Highness

Fans flocked record stores to buy Prince’s vinyl albums and memorabilia. With too many legendary music icons dying this year, people are scrambling to record stores and buying their favorite albums just in case.

“Prince’s music was some of the first to make me realize that pop music could be unique,” Shirley later said. “His music also showed me that it’s good to be yourself and music should reflect that.”

Prince’s persona reflected his beliefs of being one’s self and letting the music flow through one another. He defined musical expectations with his funk, R&B and synthpop style of music that earned him the rank of number 27 of the Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Prince was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility.

“He was really important to a lot of people,” Malone said. “He didn’t just influence other’s music, but he influenced a lot of other aspects of people’s lives. He taught them how to truly express themselves.”

“I personally don’t think he’s necessarily influenced our generation as much,” senior Parker Hill said. “However, he did make androgyny more acceptable in the African American community for the previous generation, and we can at least thank him for that.”

At the time of his death, Prince recorded 39 albums, received seven Grammy Awards, and won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. Fans on Facebook put pictures on their walls featuring him alongside Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Their caption simply reads, “We lost the King, then the Queen, and now, doves are crying because we lost our Prince.”


Madi Van Zile is a senior broadcast journalism major at The Meek School of Journalism and New Media. She can be reached at msvanzil@go.olemiss.edu.

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