|When Doves Fly
4/27/2016 3:02:49 PM
By Hakim Abdul-Ali
Symbolism has been described as the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. In many ways of thinking about many different things and various "colored" folk in "hue-manity," I tend to gravitate towards that flow whenever I look at life and in writing my thoughts.
This is one of those occasions as I challenge myself to write about the passing of one of the most amazing musical geniuses ever in any genre imaginable. I'm speaking of and thinking about the talented musician Prince Rogers Nelson, simply and symbolically known to the musical world as Prince.
By now, you, this country and, I'm sure, the rest of the social media-seduced universe knows that Prince was found dead at age 57 last Thursday morning at his famous Chanhassen, Minnesota, estate known as Paisley Park. The world-at-large was shocked to hear that the beloved talented musician was no longer here.
Shortly thereafter and as I fielded several calls from individuals asking me what I thought of his death, I weighed in whether I should, or wanted to, write anything about this singer, actor and record producer, especially since I never interviewed him or knew him in any manner. Being frank, I wasn't a particular fan of his music, but I knew without a doubt that he was an immensely gifted musician. Being an instrumental jazz lover, I must admit that some of Prince's lyrics in many of his songs never moved me enough to say that I was a committed admirer of his or constantly bought his music, but one song that caught my ear was when "When Doves Cry". When I first heard it back in 1984, I said, "Wow!"
I, along with countless others, heard it in his iconic 1984 "Purple Rain" movie, and to say that it was topically meaningful and eclectically sensational is to hit the nail on the head. This innovative song written by this native son of Minneapolis, which became #1 in America for five weeks, dealt with involvements with intermingled parental difficulties and a love affair.
It was something about the way the way he sang the textured lines and pulsating rhythms of "When Doves Cry" that initially caught my attention, and the sheer bold fact that this man played all of the instruments on this song let me know that this super musician was a dude to be reckoned with. From guitar to every other instrument you can think of, Prince took the musical listening world, and yours truly also, to dizzying heights of harmonic flight and melodic fantasy without a sweat.Most respectfully, from that point on, Prince was baaaader than he wanted to or should be in the eyes and ears of ecstatic fans throughout the world. To say that he was an unparalleled musical superstar is to rightfully tell it like it is.
I could write more about his musical accomplishments and his well-known assorted tiffs with the, at times, controversial music business industry that he was associated with, but I will not. I assume you already probably have a general idea of what all of that stuff was all about anyway, and If you don't, then go to the web or read up on it in current magazines, books and social media to find out. What I want to say and draw your attention to, via my article today, is the symbolic reality between Prince's passing and the bird called a dove. This has deeper connotations that I'd like you to reflect upon, "As I See It."
You see, the dove is a universal symbol of peace. It's a bird with a short neck and characterized with slender bill. Prince was a very diminutive man, and to many he was about "flying" or doing things his own way in all of his musical dimensions and artistic ascendency.
I'm a poet by nature and I think like that when I try to express certain vibes. Prince's decision to say and make the doves cry in his signature song is quite a teaching thought to my consciousness. He was quite a musical visionary if you liked and understood his style of music.
If that is the case and the ever-mindful doves "really" were capable of crying back then when he did his musical and acting things, then they (now) must have "flown" or taken this musical talent supreme to an inevitable arena where we all will face sooner or later. That place, or destination, is death.The very fact that Prince's demise, among and along with so many other lesser known souls in our nation and the rest of world who died on last Thursday, should serve as a wake up call to all of our collective intellectual spiritual senses to let us know that life is too, too short for anyone of us to take it or the next conceived moment for granted. The majestic doves flying high tell us that each fragile moment in life is likened to a symbolic cherished, unique and unprecedented signature piece of living peaceful music.
I don't know if Prince, in writing "When Doves Cry," was trying to infer anything about peace, or whatever, in his profound musical symmetry. But those ever-aware doves he was singing about maybe be telling us that, if they cried when he was living, then they must be revealingly "flying" higher now in more a celestially calming space. "When Doves Fly" hits your mental perception with consciousness, it should ultimately leave with us all that a deeper symbolic, spiritual message about Prince's overall impact on the music scene and beyond now that he's no longer physically amongst the living. Do you get what symbolically, or at least metaphorically speaking, where I'm coming from? I hope so.
With the passing of Prince, the gifted and dynamic entertainer, and the way he died, it makes me think and recognize that no one knows how, where or when he or she is "gonna" leave here, because the "flying" spiritual doves of reality are telling us all to make peace within ourselves and with each other before it's too late. And, that could be at the very next moment as the doves "cry" and "fly" in our own "colored" worlds of purple existences.
I refer to those doves as crying and flying in that instance, again, thinking symbolically that they are doing that because of their witnessing all of the political corruptions, social injustices, systemic bigotries and global racial and ethnic hatreds that are presently exist in the world. Maybe, Prince's song, "When Doves Cry," had a hidden deeper figurative message to and for us today, even heavier than it was in the 1984 movie. Think about it.
As you do, and however you remember Prince's flamboyant musical life and persona, remember that he was also a religiously redirected and spiritually reclaimed work in progress. You also should know that he was concerned about and very generous to the needy and the less fortunate. His crying doves obviously knew that in his later life he was more than the music, and, appreciatively, we should acknowledge that too in addition to remembering his music.
Finally, all I can say emphatically is that while Prince Rogers Nelson was on the earth, he definitely was apparently and energetically trying to live his life through his musical expressions. His colossal body of work, along with his definite increased spiritual awareness, say that, without argument, he was superlatively growing and "flying" higher up to his last musical breath.
So all that's left for me to say is rest in peace, Prince. The emblematic lessons your music, life and death brought to us all continue to testify that "When Doves Fly," they symbolically say that there's more spiritually behind the music than some of us know or apparently realize. Remember that death waits for no one. For today and always, that's,"As I See it."