Friday, May 15, 2015

Prince Hosts Two Peace Rally Concerts And Releases A Protest Song

Moved by the nationwide demonstrations following the untimely deaths of Freddie Gray and Michael Brown, Prince decided to let his voice be heard. On May 10, he released his new song, “Baltimore,” which  honors the memories of Gray and Brown, who both died from injuries sustained during encounters with police officers.  Many feel their deaths were two more examples of an ongoing pattern of the police using excessive force when dealing with African Americans. The song is a call for peace and an end to the unrest that has taken hold across the country. It also condemns police brutality and gun violence, which continues to cut short too many young lives in the United States—especially in low-income urban communities. Prince wrote and produced the song as well as played all the instruments. The song has a gorgeous melody and some sterling guitar work from the Purple One.  And soul/R&B singer Eryn Allen Kane sweetens the groove with her soulful vocals.

On May 11, the multitalented musician performed alongside his backing band, 3RDEYEGIRL, before a sold-out crowd at Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena for his second “Dance Rally 4 Peace” concert. Prince debuted “Baltimore” during the show. A portion of the concert’s proceeds will go to Baltimore-based youth charities. According to a statement released by LiveNation, the concert is meant to be a “catalyst for pause” and was done “in the spirit of healing.”

Baltimore resident Freddie Gray died from a spinal injury sustained while he was arrested last month. He fell into a coma while in police custody as he was being transported in a police van. Before falling into a coma, Gray pleaded for medical care but none was given. He died a week later. The 25-year-old's death ignited a new string of protests and riots across the country with people again decrying police misconduct and abuse.

His Royal Badness hosted the first “Dance Rally 4 Peace” concert on May 2 at his Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, near Minneapolis. When Prince announced the concert via social media, he asked attendees to wear gray in Freddie Gray’s honor. He and 3RDEYEGIRL treated the audience to 41 minutes of blistering rock and gutbucket funk. Some of the songs on the set list included “Chaos & Disorder,” “Guitar,” “Dreamers,” “Plectrumelectrum” and a cover of Tommy James & The Shondells’ classic “Crimson and Clover.”

And in an uncharacteristic move, Prince shared the entire concert on his new Soundcloud page.  He closed out his concert with these parting words: “Do me a favor and take care of each other, all right? It don’t matter the color; we are all family.”

Full "Dance Rally 4 Peace" concert at Paisley Park Studios

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