Prince may be gone, but he’s far from forgotten. According to Minnesota news station WCCO-TV, Minneapolis’ Anwatin Middle School is establishing a “music room” dedicated to the late singer. The room will be accessible to music students and will offer an array of instruments—including 18 brand new keyboards, guitars, amplifiers, and more.
“[Prince] wanted to impact the community and he did for so long. We don’t want there to be a hole in that space,” Manuela Testolini, Prince’s ex-wife, told local news station WCCO-TV. “We want to make sure that is continuing as much as Andre said, as much as the music is continued, the impact has to continue and he was an activist, he was a revolutionary, he was a philanthropist. We want to make sure that is elevated and kept at the front.”
Testolini worked with Andre Cymone, a close friend and collaborator of Prince, to give back to the Minneapolis community with the help of her foundation, In a Perfect World. Together, they gathered musicians and technicians who previously worked for Prince to create the students’ music room.
“It’s great to go play his music and to do all of that and that’s wonderful and it’s a beautiful thing for his musical legacy, but I think the extension to that is to give back to kids,” Testolini added.
Last year, scholars from all over the world met in England for “Purple Reign: An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Life and Legacy of Prince.” For three days, attendees explored and analyzed what Prince meant to Black culture as a musician, but particularly as a philanthropist and activist.
“Prince is Black,” Zaheer Ali, Adjunct Instructor at NYU, told CASSIUS during an interview after the conference. “And I don’t mean that in any kind of flippant way; I mean in terms of his conversance and integration into the community and its traditions and culture and politics.” During the conference, Ali worked with author and social justice scholar Monique Morris and Dereca Blackmon, Associate Dean and Director of the Diversity and First-Gen Office at Stanford University, on a panel called “Free the Slave: Prince and the Black Freedom Movement.”
“We informed a lot of scholars around Black tradition who hadn’t really understood that, who we actually challenged in meetings [and] in panels around using the phrase ‘Prince transcended race,’” Blackmon added. “We talked about the white supremacist notion that Blackness would be so confining.”
We’re glad to see Prince’s fans and loved ones preserving his legacy in such a meaningful way.