Prince's estate has shared a handwritten note from the late artist's personal archives about injustice and racial intolerance to mark what would have been the icon's 62nd birthday. As Black Lives Matter protests continue nationwide after the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25, the words Prince wrote before his death in 2016 are particularly prescient.
"Nothing more ugly in the whole wide world than INTOLERANCE (between) Black, white, red, yellow, boy or girl. INTOLERANCE," the musician's handwritten message read. His estate added in the caption, "Prince dedicated his life to speaking out against injustice, advocating for black excellence, and spreading the message of 'Love 4 One Another.' In this note that he kept in his personal archives, he wrote a message that still resonates today."
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The estate also shared a music video for Prince's song "Baltimore," written in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in 2015 in custody of the Baltimore Police Department. While the six police officers who were believed to be involved in his death were indicted by a grand jury, most of the charges were dropped after three trials ended in acquittal and a fourth ended in mistrial. In Prince's music video, footage from the Black Lives Matter protests following Gray's death is shown, as well as footage of other black people who have died in police custody.
Many living artists are using their platform to speak out about Floyd's death, with Beyoncé encouraging fans to fight for what is right in a recent Instagram video. "We need justice for George Floyd. We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We’re broken and we’re disgusted. We cannot normalize this pain," she said. "I’m not only speaking to people of color, if you’re white, black, brown, or anything in between I’m sure you feel hopeless by the racism going on in America right now.”
She added in Barack and Michelle Obama’s YouTube “Dear Class of 2020” virtual graduation ceremony Sunday, "The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others have left us all broken. It has left the entire country searching for answers."
"We’ve seen that our collective hearts, when put to positive action, could start the wheels of change," she continued in her virtual commencement speech. "Real change has started with you, this new generation of high school and college graduates who we celebrate today."