Local Current Blog

How fans are celebrating Prince’s ‘born day’ differently this year

Graffiti near Paisley Park, photographed in April 2020. (Lucy Hawthorne for MPR)

“I don’t celebrate birthdays, so that stops me from counting days, which stops me from counting time,” said Prince in an interview with Dutch TV host Ivo Niehe in 1999.

Prince was born in Minneapolis on June 7, 1958 and although the icon didn’t always celebrate the occasion, fans have largely embraced the date as a chance to dance and gather in honor of “the Purple One.”

Things will look different this year, with in-person parties cancelled and Paisley Park’s celebration spanning June 4-7 postponed. The festivities will instead unfold through bedroom dance parties and creative virtual events ranging from simple to extravagant.

One notable virtual tribute based in Minneapolis is a 24-hour “PRinc-E-ThoN” DJ set by Lenka Paris. Paris is a globally acclaimed DJ who spun music for Prince himself, held a residency at First Avenue, and has played past Prince birthday parties at the club. But never in her career has Paris DJed non-stop for 24 hours.

“I have been going back and forth, without people in flesh in front of me, their energy… can I do it?” Paris wrote in a Facebook post about the event. “But as they say, never know until you try.” In terms of aesthetics, she will have her Controversy album poster hung against a floral room divider, a disco ball, and a disco light that sometimes has a mind of its own.

The time span makes it a practical option for fans in all time zones and Paris plans to bring viewers onto the stream to show off their dance moves throughout the event.  You can watch Paris push the limit to honor Prince’s career of pushing limits from midnight CDT on June 6 to midnight on June 7.

Flip Phone, known in Minneapolis for their dance parties and drag brunches, will pay respect with a Prince-themed Digital Drag Brunch on June 7. Looking at Flip Phone’s packed calendar of upcoming digital shows, the Prince celebration is the most anticipated with over 2,300 interested attendees already. That will take place from 1-2 p.m. and you can join with the Zoom link attached to the event. Find the whole lineup here.

Like Minnesota in the past, the city of Houston, Texas has also proclaimed June 7 “Prince Day.” The driving force behind Houston’s holiday and annual celebration is Prince fan, Craig Alexander.  Every year since 2016 Alexander has orchestrated local live music, dancing, special guests and more to honor Prince’s life and legacy. This year’s celebration will take the shape of “PRINCE DAY HOUSTON ’20TWENTY’ CELEBRATION | ‘DAYS OF WILD’: The Virtual Interactive Experience.”

The online extravaganza will include live art, music showcases, an appearance from Damon D of New Power Generation, and prizes for contests like “Best Outfit (waist up)”. It’ll take place from 7–11 p.m. CDT on Zoom and will also be streamed on YouTube and Facebook. Be sure to tune in on time if you want to be one of the first 100 attendees invited into the exclusive “Purple Waiting Room.”

Prince fans all over have planned smaller festivities through Facebook events as well. The Great Purple Ride fan page created an event due to the Prince community’s inability to travel to Minneapolis on June 7 due to COVID-19. Another Facebook fan page, LoveSexyDC, scheduled an online event that night simply described as “An evening of music and memories.”

On the other side of the world, two DJs in the U.K. will host a humble dance party the evening before Prince’s birthday with instructions for attendees to wear something purple and “dance like your pants are on fire!!!!”

If virtual events aren’t for you, consider checking out this two-hour Prince and the Revolution concert, recorded in 1985 and made public as part of an effort to raise money for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

You can also spend the day sifting through his endless discography or chilling out with a bowl of popcorn and Purple Rain. Or you can give a nod to the icon’s love for symbolic visuals by switching to a purple Zoom background come June 7.  Prince meant many different things to many different people and for all who choose to celebrate, the anniversary of his birth will bring plenty of chances to reflect on his legacy, dance and commemorate the Kid in community.