Monday 25 April 2016

Stories of the Earth: Prince reminds us how much care it takes to live with each other

The week of Earth Day was intense in Minneapolis this year. Earth Day eve, already a time of pensive introspection given the reminder of climate change this year has been (the pile of street snow that usually would not be melted at the end of my driveway for another month has been gone for over two months already!) and ongoing struggles with dire racial inequalities, also brought the news of Prince's death. As my hometown's most notable hero, Prince has inspired not only the overnight purplization of the city (everyone I encountered on Earth Day was wearing purple, and murals like the one pictured went up immediately), but also an Earth Day sung in and out with all night mourning dance parties. 

I will remain brief and encourage readers to go back to watching amazing Prince music videos and sharing their stories with friends, but will also share a quick reflection of my own. Listening to and watching the outpouring of remembrance and appreciation amongst all my friends (most of whom grew up here, in the inspiring and liberating purple shadow -- and who are giving bookish tributes, #princerevelry, and more), a significant part of what I am hearing echoed is the caring work that makes it possible to live with each other. Van Jones emotional remembrance perhaps has made this most visible for people, opening up the view to Prince's humanitarianism, if they hadn't been paying attention to visible work such as Planet Earth or his more subtle involvement building and funding Green for All and #YesWeCode. Watching those music videos (such as this one with Beyonce) in this light reveals ways of listening and responding that seem important to learn from (this moment, this move!) -- they make Prince so sexy and so loved partly because they show graceful and creative ways of acting on paying attention and caring. 

Caring enough to continue living here seems like one important way to practice our celebration of Earth and its communities, and trying to pay attention, then figuring out what to DO about what we've noticed, like Prince, seems a good tribute.

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