In the social media age, we have certain still-new rituals that surround the death of a beloved artist -- rituals that are somehow already deeply embedded in our culture. With the death of Prince today, millions of people are taking to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms to express their shock and sadness in real time. Brands are doing their thing, too. And whether you seek them out or not, you'll likely encounter -- or have already encountered -- roundups of celebrity tweets and posts paying brief tribute to the musical genius.
A flood of carefully crafted appreciations is imminent -- on websites and blogs, newspaper front pages around the world tomorrow and magazine cover stories in weeks to come. But for now, here's a post by a musician, Justin Timberlake, that beautifully bridges the gap between brevity and depth.
It was Raspberry Beret. I was 4 years old. Yes, 4. I remember that I instantly loved it. "Mommy, who is that singing?" Seems weird but it's true. More than a "once in a lifetime" artist... Just a ONCE IN FOREVER ARTIST. I'm still in shock as I write this and I feel this overwhelming grief. But, we should all turn away from that and HONOR this musician that changed all of our lives, our perspectives, our feeling, our whole being. From another planet? Probably. Royalty, for sure. Us worthy..? Laughable. They say don't meet your idols... That they let you down. But, some of my greatest, funniest (yes, he was hilarious), and most prolific encounters and conversations about music came from the moments that I spent with him. It would be silly to say that he has inspired our music... It's beyond that. He's somewhere within every song I've ever written. I am sad, but I will smile when I think of every second that I had the fortune of being in his company. We have lost our greatest living musician. But his music will never die. Prince, NOTHING COMPARES... #RIPPrince