By Ryan Velez
Bossip reports that Stacey Dash was the first celebrity to offer a eulogy about deceased musician Prince, and while she shared some heartfelt memories about the artist and her memories of his music, one part of her statement is sure to draw more attention than anything else.
Shortly after saying that Prince was “someone that transcended time” and “innovative,” Dash said that “you didn’t look at him as a black artist or an artist of any color… he was just Prince. And his music just resonated with everyone.” This statement triggered a rash of negative feedback on social media—not necessarily new for Dash—from Prince fans who felt he was very much a Black artist.
In the rest of her eulogy, Dash told a story about sneaking into a club to see Prince as a teenager, and saying that while he was “small in height his persona filled an entire room.” She also added that “He had a very strong message about being who you are despite what people think. He was who he wanted to be and that’s what I loved about him.”
In an unplanned but effective rebuttal, RawStory reports that CNN’s Van Jones talked about the charitable side of Prince in a phone interview with Jake Tapper, a side which the singer rarely spoke about. Jones mentioned Prince’s role behind his Yes We Code project, designed to bring tech education to communities of color.
“We started Yes We Code because of Trayvon Martin,” Jones explained. “Prince said, ‘No, listen. A black kid wearing a hoodie might be seen as a thug; a white kid wearing a hoodie might be seen as a Silicon Valley genius. Let’s teach the black kids how to be like Mark Zuckerberg.’ Out of that observation, we built a whole organization.”
Jones also mentioned Prince’s tribute to Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray. In addition to expressing support for Black Lives Matter, Prince said that he “had a dream” for the people there.
“He said, ‘When I come back to Baltimore, I want to stay in a hotel that you young people have created,'” said Jones about Prince’s comments. “I want to go to a restaurant that you young people have created.”