Wednesday, December 30, 2020

'Just a No-name Reporter' - Celebrating 10 years of A Purple Day in December

This month marks 10 years since I started this blog and, really, the current version of my book on Prince. I thought it was important to spend some time reflecting on the past decade. When I made that first post on Dec. 1, 2010, I was so enthusiastic and naive. Today, I'm still invested in this project but I'm also a bit more astute and realistic. Any biographer will tell you that they develop a complicated relationship with the subject; you learn so much about human nature, and it can be difficult to digest the information. I went in with a simplistic idea of what Prince's spiritual journey could be, and (shocker) it is so much more complex than I could have ever imagined. I am still hoping readers find beauty and inspiration in that complexity--or at the very least an intriguing character study.

This blog is not only a chronicle of my journey to write a book, but a record of my personal and professional life. I started and finished graduate school while writing this blog. I interned at Billboard in New York City. I moved to Columbus, Ohio, to become a full-time reporter, which changed my life tremendously. I've built an impressive career and found my purpose in elevating Black voices in my community. However, it's also uncomfortable to look back. I've never made a habit of baring my soul here, but I can look at certain blog posts and think about relationships and friendships that didn't work out, former supporters who lost interest, and periods when I was dealing with depression. 

Of course, there were funny moments along the way. I cringe at some of the terrible clip art and outdated technology. (Honestly, if I could do it over again, I would have hosted this blog on a different platform.) I also laugh at the moment I discovered there was salacious, Prince-based fan fiction

Click to enlarge

There is also a lot of joy. I saw Prince at Madison Square Garden the same month I started the blog. Three weeks after my first post, I completed my first interview, which was with Gayle Chapman. Today, I can proudly say I've interviewed over 40 people. I'll never forget serendipitously meeting up with Prince's former publicist, Howard Bloom, for a five-hour interview in Brooklyn, or making my mom proud by interviewing someone she admired--the legendary Larry Graham. I never imagined I'd get the opportunity to present my research at an academic conference in the UK, but I did, and I made sure to document that experience--one of the happiest times of my life--on the blog. I also had the honor of appearing on an episode of the official Prince podcast. Additionally, I've met so many great people who've found me through this blog or in other Prince-related spaces. 

I never thought Prince would pass away while I was writing the book. It was difficult to navigate that publicly, but I did, and it's documented on the blog. But it's great to be able to revisit a post and reminisce about how fun it was when he was here, doing things in real time. For example, I get a kick out of seeing my reaction to his launch of the 3rdEyeGirl era in 2013. 

Posing at Madison Square Garden before the Prince show on Dec 18, 2010

I'd be lying if I said the book and this blog were easy. I've been doing this for a decade and I'm tired. I'm ready to be done. I'm almost there, but it's going to take more hard work to finish in 2021, which I need to do. I have to move on with the rest of my life. I have new goals to achieve, including things I've sacrificed to bring this project to fruition. There has been a lot of rejection, but I have some key supporters, including a new agent, so I'm in a good place. I still struggle with self-doubt. Sometimes I feel I'm not worthy of getting certain interviews or even getting my work published, but I know that's not true. I just have to be careful not to indulge that thinking for too long. 

I'm proud of myself for re-committing myself to blogging consistently these past two years, but it's time to prioritize the rest of my book. That means there may be some gaps in between posts, and I have to learn to be OK with that. I'm still excited for the potential interviews, reviews, guest posts, contests and other types of content I can publish, but I have to be more strategic.

Presenting at the "Purple Reign Conference" at the University of Salford in Manchester

I don't know what my plans are for the blog once I'm finished with my book. I do know I will probably need a break from Prince-related content for a while. I have so many other stories to tell, hopefully. But I am so grateful to have this archive. (I should probably download these posts now, huh?)

Thank you so much for going on this journey with me. Happy New Year!

- Erica 

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

"The Gold Standard" - Top Seven Posts of 2020

It's been a crazy year to say the least, but I'm glad I managed to stay consistent with my blog. Here's a list of the seven most-visited posts.

7. "Eye Hate U" - Flutestrumental #1: I performed the Prince song on flute. 

6. "With an Intellect and a Savoir-Faire" - Purple Recommendations: I created a roundup of Prince-related content from other folks in the "purple community." 

5. "Here We Are, Folks!" - Sign O' the Times Deluxe Edition Unboxing: I filmed myself opening the latest release from the prince Estate.

4.  "Kick Drum Pounds on the Two and Four" - Three Immediate Favorites from the Vault: I shared my thoughts on a few tracks from the massive Super Deluxe edition of Prince's Sign O' the Times album.

3. “Welcome 2 the Million $ Show” - Redeeming Qualities of “HitnRun: Phase One”: Prince's Friend shared his thoughts on Prince's penultimate album.

2. “A Little Bit of Pleasure for the Guilty Pain” – BDSM Lyrics in the Work of Prince: Darling Nisi contributed an essay on this subject. 

1. "Jana Jade's Army" - Interview with Jana Anderson: I spoke with one of Prince's former session singers. 

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Sunday, December 6, 2020

'A New Spiritual Revolution' - My 'Purple Paradigm' Presentation

Last month, I was invited to present my research on an episode of The Purple Paradigm, an interactive web series on Prince. 

You can watch my talk, "'You Don't Think God is Sexy?' - Prince's Shifting Perspectives on Spirituality and Sexuality," below.  

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