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  • Writer's pictureTodd Barnes

ENN sponsors Prince Memorial Highway sign unveiling ceremony




August 7, 2023


CHANHASSEN, MIN--On Tuesday, August 7, people of all different colors and backgrounds gathered at the Lake Ann pavillion in Chanhassen, MN, adjascent to Paisley Park, the studio/home of Prince Rogers Nelson for the sign unveiling of the newly named Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway. The event was coordinated by longtime community organizers, Sam Cooke and his sidekick, Mark.


An enthusiastic, sizable crowd first gathered along the highway to view and commemorate the new Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial purple sign, placed by MNDOT and funded entirely by private donations.


Then the large crowd gathered at the pavillion, where a DJ rocked exclusively Prince music, thundering out of a dope speaker system.


Equity News Network sponsored the ceremony portion of the event, with ENN chief anchor and president, Todd Michael Barnes, provided opening remarks and the ceremony welcome. While on the mic, Barnes said, "Prince taught us style," Barnes continued, "how to be comfortable with oneself. He graced many a stage with his couture clothes, custom made shoes, his androgeny, and just how dignified he carried himself."


Barnes continued, "Prince taught us how to be sexy, his music coming from a place of charged erotocism that titilated and tantilzed the masses."


"Prince taught us what being a person of real substance means, his main desire to connect with his audience in an intimate and special way, bring people together, help others, and he respected all races"


"Prince taught us what signature timing means, always popping in and out of the public music scene on his terms, releasing our favorite songs at just the right time."


"And, lastly," Barnes said, "Prince taught us about soul-control: how to respect our own dreams, skills, and talents; and how to put our dreams, skills, and talent to work in order to dream our own destiny, He taught us how to chart our own course, marching to the beat of our own unique drum. Prince taught us the importance of artists owning their own content and having complete creative control. And, most importanly, Prince taught us how to have a personal relationship with God, therefore a joyous, purple life, here on earth."


There were people at the event who had known Prince Nelson Rogers since birth, including notables who worked with Prince throughout the decades.


Charles Chaz Smith, Prince's first cousin was in attendance, the originator of Prince's first band, Grand Central. Smith was eventually replaced with Morris Day, but now still dedicates his entire work life to keeping Prince's legacy alive, with his nonprofit, Justice4Cuz.org.


Joel King, chief camera operator for Prince's movies, was in attendance. King told ENN, "I was hired decades ago by Prince when I first came out of CD treatment. Prince actually hired me because I was coming out of treatment and he wanted to help me. That's just who he was."


Others in attendance were Damon Dickson, a longtime Prince ddancer, Doctor Fink (Matt), Prince's pianist, and Terry Jackson, an original Prince band member, was there.


There were more events throughout the day and evening honoring Prince Rogers Nelson, including a star-studded event at Crave.


When asked what he thought of the event, co-lead event coordinator Sam Cooke said, I couldnt have asked for anything more to pay tribute to Prince. Our community showed up and showed out to honor our hometown hero. Wow!"


Chicks on Wheels food truck provided nourishment at the event, and helped serve the 150 persons who came from the Twin Cities, and other locations across the nation, to mark the historic ceremonial occasion and event.


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