Iconic musical artist and animal rights activist Prince Rogers Nelson passed from this world on April 21, 2016 at his Paisley Park Studios near his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Having sold over 100 million records and having won seven Grammy Awards, one Oscar and a Golden Globe Award, the “Purple Rain” singer is one of the most successful recording artists of all time. Prince has been praised by his peers as a musical genius for his ability to write and compose songs that integrated pop, R&B, psychedelia, funk, rock, and soul, while his wide vocal range allowed him to sing gospel or the blues as easily as he could croon or sing pop. A multi-instrumentalist, he performed all 27 instruments used on his first album while he was still a teenager and nearly all the instruments on his first five albums.
Following news of his passing, musical stars and legends including Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney of the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and Lionel Richie lamented his departure. Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger tweeted, “Prince was one of the most unique and exciting artists of the last 30 years.” Stevie Wonder, during an interview on CNN, discussed his close friend Prince as an artist who was deeply committed to helping to usher in a better world. He said, “It’s a heartbreak to lose a member of that army of love.”
In addition to his incredible talent, Prince frequently used his music to speak out for human rights and was reported to be a secret philanthropist, contributing monetary backing to projects that empower minorities, promote green living and uplift humanity. Prince’s compassion expanded beyond the human race to animals as well. He worked with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to promote animal welfare and a vegan diet and lifestyle. In the liner notes for his 1999 album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, he explained why he refused to wear a wool coat, describing the cruelty to lambs and sheep involved in the wool industry. In the lyrics of “Animal Kingdom,” a song he donated to PETA for their 20th anniversary celebration, Prince also expressed that animals do not exist for humans to eat, and milk is not ours to drink. In an article mourning his passing, PETA explained that when people would question Prince over focusing on the suffering of animals when so many humans were in need, he responded, “Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.” In recognition of his advocating on behalf of our animal co-inhabitants, PETA crowned him their 2006 Sexiest Vegetarian Alive.
Prince, you were truly a shining beacon for our planet and uplifted us all with your musical genius and the depth of your compassion for humans and animals alike. May you rest peacefully in Heaven in God’s eternal embrace.