I didn’t get to go to Prince’s concert in Baltimore last night, but my friends who went pronounced it “f***ing awesome.”
Just before the concert, Prince released “Baltimore,” a funky, soulful protest song that references Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. He played that song at the concert, along with a number of hits, including “Controversy,” “Little Red Corvette,” and “Purple Rain.”
But the show was much more than just a musical celebration; in between songs Prince called out the “broken” system, invited prosecutor Marilyn Mosby onto stage, and encouraged a “No Curfew” chant at the end of the show. Though the concert was not without its critics, Prince seemed to handle things thoughtfully and respectfully throughout: He brought a handful of people in $22 nosebleed seats into the first row, where tickets cost nearly $500. He invited the family members of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Eric Garner to hang out backstage with him, Beyonce, and Alicia Keys. He cheered for Baltimore’s black business owners, and donated concert proceeds to charities serving local youth. In summation: I love Prince.
As I listened to the livestream of the concert’s first hour, I got tears in my eyes every time the 14,000-strong crowd started chanting “Baltimore.” While there’s so much deep-rooted and heartbreaking trouble in the city, there’s also this amazing bedrock of pride and strength and celebration. I hope we can channel that energy forward into a better Baltimore for everyone.
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