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World Mourns Passing of Prince

PrinceBy Avis Thomas Lester, Urban News Service

‘Rest in purple,’ millions wish as pop master dies at 57.

As the world mourns the passing of the falsetto-voiced Prince – known for his sexual lyrics, sensual performances and steely determination to control his work  – the music industry is reeling over the loss of a peerless talent.

Prince Rogers Nelson died Thursday at his Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis where he was found unresponsive in an elevator. He was 57.

Local authorities announced Friday that an autopsy had been performed and a cause of death would be forthcoming. Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said there were no signs of trauma at the scene and the case will remain “an open investigation” until autopsy results are returned. Authorities do not believe Prince took his own life.

News of his death stunned fans, inside and outside the music industry.

Prince was “one of a kind, the greatest musician ever,” Washington radio personality Donnie Simpson, a personal friend of the performer.

Stevie Wonder tearfully called him “incredible.”

The praise over the airwaves and on social media was effusive.

“Boys 4 Life…Ain’t nobody bad like Prince!” tweeted Morris Day, head of the Time, a Minneapolis-born funk group whose members worked with Prince and upstaged the star in his own celebrated 1984 movie “Purple Rain.”

“I have no words. The king is gone,” tweeted R&B singer Lalah Hathaway.

“Our GRAMMY family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of seven-time GRAMMY Award winner Prince. Today, we remember and celebrate him as one of the most uniquely gifted artists of all time. Never one to conform, he redefined and forever changed our musical landscape,” posted Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Prince’s death comes a little over two months after the passing of one of his protégés, Vanity, lead singer of the 1980s glam group Vanity 6. Vanity, whose real name was Denise K. Matthews, died Feb. 15 of renal failure; she was also 57. A few hours after her death, Prince remembered Matthews with a special rendition of his popular song “Little Red Corvette” while on tour in Australia, according to news reports.

His passing is the latest among several influential musicians in recent months. Rock legend David Bowie died Jan. 10 after battling cancer. And Earth, Wind & Fire founder and front man Maurice White died on Feb. 4 at age 74 of Parkinson’s disease.

Washington radio personality DJ Flexx said the deaths of Prince, White and Bowie will have a permanent impact on the music industry.  “We are losing innovators. We are losing trendsetters. We are losing leaders,” he said. “We are talking about people who changed the game, were responsible for trends that made people want to be like them. Who are we going to look to now to continue to lead?”

The son of a pianist father and a vocalist mother, Prince showed musical talent early in life. He taught himself to play the piano at age 7 and added guitar and drums to his repertoire by the time he reached high school.

According to statistics from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Prince has sold 20.5 million records.

Grammy-winning producers Terry Lewis and James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, who worked with Prince as musicians in the Time, told Simpson in an interview that Prince was already a talented musician when they met him in middle school in Minneapolis.

“He was gifted, just totally gifted,” Lewis said. “We’ll always be celebrating his life because we’ll be celebrating that music forever.”

Harris said that Prince, Lewis and he took a piano class in middle school that was beneath their skill level. While the teacher was attempting to teach them children’s ditties, they were playing sophisticated music.

“I just remember he could play waves around me, man,” Harris said. “I thought I was good, but I was like, ‘Damn, this dude is ridiculous.’ He was on a whole different level, man.”

Lewis, a bass player, said Prince’s attempts to help his classmates could prove painful.  “He could pick up the bass and give you fits,” he said. “And … he could do that same thing to any person who stepped on the stage because he was a student of music … We used to say, ‘He is music.’ ”

Harris said Prince auditioned for a high-school program playing a complicated guitar solo from Chicago’s “Make Me Smile” album. During a break, Harris heard someone in the music room playing a drum solo so well that he thought it was the teacher.  “I come out and it is Prince on the drums. I didn’t even want to get back behind the drums after that,” he said.

He said Prince’s work ethic was  unparalleled. “Prince would rehearse us for four hours. He’d go rehearse his band for four hours. And then he’d go work in the studio all night. Then, the next morning he’d come to our rehearsal with a cassette in his hand and he’d put the cassette in and all of a sudden “1999” would play. And I don’t mean a demo of ‘1999’ –  I mean ‘1999’. ‘Little Red Corvette’ would play. We’d be like, ‘Damn, when did you do that?’ He would say, ‘Like, last night.’ ”

While many entertainers of his day had faded away, Prince was never far from the spotlight. After a string of hits in the 1980s and 1990s, people around the world welcomed the new millennium partying to his dance anthem “1999”. His 2007 Super Bowl half-time performance, delivered in a driving rain, is considered by many to be the best such performance yet.

He stayed relevant even as he worked to stay out of the spotlight. His penchant for privacy, as well as his colorful outfits and trademark high-heeled boots earned a reputation for being eccentric.

“He wore high heels and makeup and I still thought he was the sexiest man alive,” said Dorina Roberts, who was listening to Prince songs on her iPhone at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument in Washington, on Friday. “I loved his music and I loved him.”

Prince was also an activist. He traveled to Baltimore in May, 2015, in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, who died after allegedly suffering an injury while in police custody, and the unrest that resulted. His “Rally 4 Peace” concert sold out. He sang a song he wrote called “Baltimore.” He donated the proceeds to charitable causes in the city.

Robert Scott Adams, student services director at the Omega Studios in Rockville, Maryland, where Prince once worked, said he first heard Prince’s music in 1979 while working as a student deejay at Clark Atlanta University and at rock station WKLF 96.

“I heard the first single from his first album, Prince, called ‘Soft and Wet,’ ” Adams said. “That was back in the day when you would read the album cover. First, I noticed that he had produced it himself and that was a really big deal to produce your own music back then. Then, I saw that he played all of the instruments on the album. It said he played 27 instruments and he was only, like, 17 years old. That was the start, pretty much from then on, I’m a fan.”

Adams, who said he frequently encountered musicians as a deejay, said he found himself speechless when he met Prince while working for a record company in 1983.

“I feel a presence behind me and I turn around and it is Prince and I freeze and I turn into a child,” Adams said, laughing. “I mumble something like, ‘Wow, you’re Prince!’ He said, ‘Yes, I am.’ I wanted to ask him my questions, but I froze. He waited some more, then he just walked away.”

As he signed off from his Washington radio show Thursday, Donnie Simpson said he believes there may be more of Prince’s music to come.

“It’s hard to believe [his] life is over, but I thank God that he left us with so much music, man. You know how much stuff he released. Just imagine how much is in his vault, thousands of songs, man, guaranteed.”

Visit the Urban News Service for more stories like this one.

 

Nominees For Annual Education Medal Of Honor Announced

SAN BERNARDINO – In recognition of their contributions to public education in San Bernardino County, 35 nominees in six categories for this year’s Education Medal of Honor have been announced.

The nominees will compete to be chosen for the 25th annual awards, and six recipients of those nominated for the Education Medal of Honor will be announced at a banquet on April 28 in Fontana at the Sierra Lakes Country Club.

Nominations for the Education Medal of Honor were made in six categories: Volunteer in Action/Community Volunteer; Volunteer in Action/Service Group; Partners in Education/Small Business or Franchise; Partners in Education/Corporation or Government Agency; Excellence in Education/Education Professional; and Excellence in Education/Student Alumni.

The Education Medal of Honor program is sponsored by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, the County School Boards Association and the County Communicators Network. School public relations professionals in Riverside County are judging this year’s entries.

For more information, contact the County Schools’ Communications office at 909.386.2413.

San Bernardino County 2016 Education Medal of Honor Nominees

Alta Loma School District

Judith Bach, assistant principal at Vineyard Junior High, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Chaffey Joint Union High School District

Josh Atkinson, student at Los Osos High School, Volunteer in Action/Community Volunteer

Jennifer Nicastro, English teacher and California Scholarship Federation advisor at Los Osos High, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Chino Valley Unified School District

Lisa Lista, teacher, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Robert Mount, teacher at Ruben Ayala High, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Kevin Russell, teacher at Ruben Ayala High, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Colton Joint Unified School District

Bertha Arreguin, director III of Language Support Services, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

City of Colton, Partners in Education/Corporation or Government Agency

Mirza Andrade-Martinez, mental health specialist for Mental Health Systems Central Valley Prevention Program, Volunteer in Action/Service Group

Susie Garcia-Torres, parent volunteer at Walter Zimmerman Elementary, Volunteer in Action/Community Volunteer

Colton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program

Laura Bowden, K16 coordinator for ESRI, Partners in Education/Corporation or Government Agency

Conrad Calbes and David Jaffe, recreational coordinators for Redlands Community Center, Partners in Education/Corporation or Government Agency

Anita Nava, office manager of Allstate Insurance Co., Partners in Education/Small Business or Franchise

Cherie Towers, director of volunteer services at Redlands Community Hospital, Partners in Education/Corporation or Government Agency

Ross Veckey, agency owner of Farmers Insurance, Partners in Education/Small Business or Franchise

Etiwanda School District

Cucamonga Valley Water District, Partners in Education/Corporation or Government Agency

Rialto Unified School District

Dr. Cuauhtemoc Avila, superintendent, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Lea Michelle Cash, president and CEO of The Brightest Star, Inc., Volunteer in Action/Service Group

San Bernardino City Unified School District

Assistance League of San Bernardino, Volunteer in Action/Service Group

Erin Freeman, program facilitator and ASB director at Serrano Middle, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Ray Gallardo, vice principal at Arroyo Valley High, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Dr. Richard Hart, president of Loma Linda University Health, Partners in Education/Corporation or Government Agency

James McGarry and CR Tetlock, teachers and coaches, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Elizabeth Resmi Kackery, program specialist, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Thinkwise Credit Union, Partners in Education/Small Business or Franchise

Jesse Venegas, teacher at Arroyo Valley High School, Excellence in Education/Student Alumni

Dina Walker, president and CEO of BLU Foundation, Volunteer in Action/Service Group

Brian Willemse, program specialist and Common Core demonstration teacher, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

Keynasia Buffong, chair of Inland Empire Alliance of Black School Educators, Volunteer in Action/Service Group

Dr. Jane Guttman, librarian media specialist and teacher, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Silver Valley Unified School District

Cynthia Anderson, kindergarten teacher at Newberry Springs Elementary, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

Danica Darden, volunteer at Fort Irwin Middle School, Volunteer in Action/Community Volunteer

Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District

Angie Nett, human resources manager for Sorensen Engineering, Partners in Education/Corporation or Government Agency

Travis Paye and team, captain of Cal Fire San Bernardino Unit-Station 552 – Crafton Hills, Partners in Education/Corporation or Government Agency

Jane Smith, Board of Education member, Excellence in Education/Education Professional

 

 

“Get Rid of It…NOW!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

You see, there comes a point in all of our lives, when we need to clean house. We need to get rid of the junk in our trunk. We need to let go of some things. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his soul?  So, whatever it is that prevents you from being the light in the darkness, you need to get rid of it! Whether it is a book, a thought, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a habit, a fantasy, a desire, whatever it is, you need to get rid of it. Listen, ignoring sin will not make it go away.  Sin is missing the mark, falling short of God’s ideal for us.  We are all guilty of sin and therefore headed to Eternal destruction.  However, God has provided a way out through the Gospel.  We need to obey the Gospel in order to escape the devastating effects of sin. So whatever minimizes your devotion to God, whatever hinders your faith, whatever pulls you away from Christ, whatever defiles the temple, get rid of it. That stuff doesn’t belong in your life. You are God’s temple. God’s Spirit dwells in you. Destroy the garbage before it destroys you. You know someone has said the favorite word of the devil is “Tomorrow.” If the devil has a favorite word, it’s Tomorrow. And a lot of people have died and gone to a devil’s hell with Tomorrow on their lips. But Jesus says, today!  Today is the day of salvation… So get rid of it! Get rid of any and every thing that is hindering your walk with Christ.

You know the last thing Hezekiah did in [2 Chronicles 29] was burn the garbage. He disposed of it.  Hezekiah made up his mind and said the Hell with this! I have had to clean house many times in my life. I encourage you to do the same. Carry the filth out of your life. Get rid of it! Burn the garbage! Dispose of it! If, and when you do, God’s praise will echo in your heart again. God’s glory will sparkle in and through your spirit. And God’s presence will return to your soul.  God says, “I will make a new covenant with you. I will place in you a new heart. I will give you a new spirit. I will give you a new name. You will sing a new song. I will give you new wine. I will restore you to the joy of your salvation.”

Think back to those times when you were really happy, when you woke up in the morning with a song in your heart and a prayer on your lips. When you felt like praising God in song. When you felt like whistling. Do you remember those times in your life where you weren’t so rushed and racing, when you weren’t so concentrated on the tasks before you, when you weren’t so sour and negative, when you were truly happy inside? I do. God says, “He want to restore you to the joy of your salvation.” Get Rid of It! Stop holding on! Stop sinning! Let Go and Let God! Oh, taste and see the goodness of God. Don’t wait another day! Get Rid of It!