R.I.P. to the Prince of Light

April 22, 2016    » posted by: charlieredd

I have few regrets in life. One true regret I have is not going to the Prince concert on the Musicology tour of 2004 because I was moving to Africa and the price of the ticket could pay for me to live there for three weeks. What an idiot. I now will never get the chance.

Prince was an inspiration to me in so many ways. My entire life he was a presence: confusing, exhilarating, controversial, always inspiring. Whether as a child seeing people flooding out of Purple Rain at the Queen Park movies on South Blvd. in Charlotte (PS- not the side of town where I lived but where my Dad loved to go) and breakdancing as soon as they got into the lobby. He was the soundtrack at the middle school dance that sent some kids running for the wall and other kids (thankfully me, by then) creeping onto the dance floor to see if I could get in on some of the bootie grabbin’ going on in the middle. He introduced a young southern man what it meant to love and lust in the modern world through song. He even was the background music for my most handsome gay proposition. He is the first song on my sexiest mix tape. The moments where Prince and his music paid a part in my life are too many to name, but he was a beacon to me in many ways. He reshaped what sexuality meant for my generation and pushed us to celebrate it. He showed by example how important it was to stand up for what you believed in, be it equal rights, artists compensation, or creative license. Most importantly his life was an example of creative expression that was an inspiration to anyone with a creative side that they struggled to nurture.

Sex is what Prince was all about. No one was sexier to so many and in North Carolina of the 80’s and 90’s where sex, race, gender roles and tradition were rigid he came along and flipped us all. As we danced to his songs and sang along with the lyrics as teens we watched in confusion the man that he was and beagn to question who we were. But all of us were drawn to him in one way or another, and it was impossible to not be touched by him. Even if it was through artists that took his work and made it some of their own, he got the whole country, and the world, feeling sexy. The release and blurring of race, gender, inspiration, heat, style, music, sex, intoxicating.

Sex is the root of the creative process for many, and that includes me. My best work is when my thoughts are driven by the sexual impulses that move creative people in these mediums. Music, like food, is a necessary part of sexual experience. Everyone feels it, how they feel it is unique. Many people don’t feel the rhythm that Prince built in his music just like many people will never realize the sensual nature of oysters and champagne. Creativity and the sensory expression of an artist may touch someone in 2 to 3 ways but not in the greats. Prince, master of his craft, pushed the sensory level in 9-10 ways producing waves of euphoria and delight. When I see guests eating a meal and reaching for hands and looking deep into the other’s eyes and lightly but firmly placing a hand on the back of their lover on the way out the door I know I have touched them with my work. That is what it is about. Creating the sexy.

Revolution. He created it on so many levels. As a young man struggling with status quos of society in a southern college town teaming with liberal history but still showing the old ways of segregation and bigotry the voice of Prince was a call to action. This strange star continued to push the direction of what he was expressed as. His album “Sign of the Times” was beautiful, exhilarating and screamed of freedom for expression and acceptance. How can one man be all those things? The constant idealism and ego he expressed made me think of him as our modern day Howard Roark. A person with a singular focus to change the world with their passion for their work. These people train excessively until they develop a mastery of their craft, then they unleash the fury of a creative energy that inspires the world. They are controversial, unyielding in their mission, and change the world. Howard Roark is fiction, Prince was beyond real. I feel like I knew him and also understand I could never truly comprehend him. A living, breathing Revolution.

Prince was a lighthouse of creativity constantly shining for all to see. If you find music an important part of your being then the creativity of this artist was blinding. Constant reinvention and complete understanding of funk, soul, r+b, pop, rock, jazz, and everything else in between. How is that possible for one person to understand thoroughly all forms of pop music, play all the instruments for his recordings, be a performer rivaling all that came before, perform stadiums to night clubs on a daily basis, DO IT ALL AND DO IT BETTER THEN ANYONE ELSE? Such a drive to go on so many levels must have been exhausting, and I’m sure was a part of his early passing. It is inspiring to continue to explore new terrain while not forgetting what the foundation of what you are trying to create is based around. Exploring new directions in creativity many times lead to new creations but distance from what is approachable and pleasant. Not him. The music was always sweet, smooth, real, hot and sooooo good .

In creating dishes and experiences I try to combine new techniques, flavors, textures, emotions from new inspirations while not losing the core of what makes a dish taste good. The experience of pleasantry can not get in the way of creating. Why create if it can not be enjoyed? If you aren’t moved by the creation, does it fulfill it’s purpose? If your creation does not provide a greater good, what have you created? If the urge to love does not overtake you after the experience, has the goal been reached?

Inspiration? What do you think?

R.I.P. You are now where the doves fly.