Spike Lee held his annual celebration of Prince, The Third Annual Prince Born
Day Purple People Party, on Saturday, June 9, to the “Republic
of Brooklyn,” at Bed-Stuy’s Restoration Plaza with thousands
of fans rocking purple and celebrating the late superstar’s life, music and legacy.
Lee hosted a first Prince block party outside his 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks
offices the day after the untimely death of the music legend in April 2016. Two
months later, in honor of the maestro’s birthday on June 7, Lee then kicked off
the annual Prince Born Day Purple People Party, calling it a born day celebration
since Prince, a Jehova’s Witness, didn’t celebrate birthdays.
Brooklyn-raised filmmaker Lee worked with Prince twice, on the “Money Don’t Matter
2Night” video and on Lee’s film “Girl 6” in 1996, which featured a soundtrack of Prince
songs. Lee has been throwing annual “Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson” parties in Bed-Stuy
since Jackson died, and after Prince died in 2016 he began honoring him in the same way.
On the occasion of last year’s Purple People Party, Prince told Variety, “Prince is about
a party! The day he died we threw a party in front of my office, CNN sent a truck and it
went worldwide. But we have something more formal now — this is our second annual party.
We just want to celebrate his music, his legacy, the person that he was,”
The Minneapolis-born Prince (1958-2016), who combined rock and soul, was one of the
biggest artists of the late ’70s and ’80s. His first album, “Prince,” went platinum;
and his film “Purple Rain,” won an Academy Award for best motion picture score in 1984.
His album of the same name is listed in Time’s All-Time Top 100 albums, and his singles
from the album, “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” both reached No. 1. Among the other
well-known songs he wrote and performed are “Little Red Corvette” and “1999.”
As in previous years, Lee was joined by Radio/ TV personality Sway Calloway
to serve as the master of ceremony. Brooklyn’s own DJ Spinna provided
the soundtrack consisting of the finest tunes of Prince’s extensive music catalog. Dougie
Fresh also made two song appearance, and talked about his touring with Prince in the 90’s.
The party was entirely free to attend, keeping in the tradition of Prince’s long
history for charitable contributions and community events.