Prince Rogers Nelson, the artist known just by his first name, has died. He was 57.
I have unfortunately just confirmed first hand with one of his oldest friends that Prince is dead.
— Andrea Swensson (@SlingshotAnnie) April 21, 2016
“I am still in shock,” writer Ijeoma Oluo told KUOW’s Bill Radke. “I'm probably going to continue to go deeper into heartbreak as the day goes on. It's not something that I think was possible. I don't think that a lot of people thought Prince would ever die and certainly not this soon. The man is magic.”
What Prince has meant to music lovers – to black people around the country and the world – is unbelievable, Oluo said.
“Prince has always been unapologetically himself,” she said. “He never let anyone define his blackness either. There is so much pressure on celebrities, especially celebrities of color, to fit into a certain stereotype and to act a certain way so that white audiences and mainstream audiences are more comfortable with how they look.”
But Prince was a “flamboyant, hypersexual, incredibly multi-talented artist who would wear pants with the butt cut out because he could” and he never had to apologize for it, she said.
“He gave what we like to call ‘black weirdos’ a sense of freedom that we really hadn't had before,” Oluo said.