Tributes and discord one year after Prince death

CHANHASSEN, UNITED STATES, Joy Powell- One year after Prince's death, the pop legend's purple-clad fans converged Friday on his estate for a festive celebration, but some found it marred by commercialism and questions that still surround his overdose.

Tickets were sold out for an exclusive four-day celebration of concerts, panel discussions and parties at the 65,000 square-foot (6,000 square-meter) Paisley Park complex in Minnesota, the midwestern US state which Prince made his lifelong home despite his global fame.
Throughout the "Twin Cities" of Minneapolis and St. Paul, public landmarks were bathed in purple lights for two nights. Prince's iconic "Purple Rain" costume was on display at the Minnesota History Center and Governor Mark Dayton declared April 21 "Prince Day in Minnesota."
Once mythically hermetic but opened since Prince's death to paid tours, Paisley Park drew fans who paid $500 to $1,000 to get inside Friday. Others gathered outside the guarded compound to pay homage to the Purple One.
"I'm a huge Prince fan -- always have been, always will be," said Crystal Meadows, 35, of nearby Columbia Heights.
"I was out here this time last year when we got the news. It's been a year, so I wanted to spread some love -– and give people something to leave behind."
Across from the warehouse-like complex, Meadows handed out white cutout doves and supplied markers so fans could pen tributes on them. It was a nod to "When Doves Cry" from Prince's 1984 movie and soundtrack "Purple Rain."
Meadows urged fellow fans to attach the doves with colorful pipe cleaners to a fence surrounding the compound, where Prince wrote his sexy lyrics, played 27 instruments and threw lavish all-night parties.
- 'Purple Family' -
Wanda Soso, 45, lingered near a fence bedecked with purple balloons, ribbons, love messages and a beret along with photos of the cultural icon.
Soso had trekked from Compton, California, to seek closure. But Friday, she found none as she recalled the death of Prince at age 57 from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller.
"It's just a major loss in my life," Soso said. "I just had to be here, be around the 'Purple Family' and people who understand what I'm going through. I'm just hurting."
In Prince's wake, turbulence remains over inheritance claims and song rights. Six potential heirs are still fighting over management and financial affairs of his estate.
And a judge this week blocked a new release of Prince tunes by a sound engineer after the estate objected.
Meanwhile, authorities continue to probe how Prince, who had chronic hip pain, got the fentanyl with which he overdosed at Paisley Park.
That her beloved star was found dead in an elevator troubles Soso, who questions what people who were closest to him could have done differently.
"There's so much speculating on what really happened and how long he was in the elevator. It's just so hurtful," she said.
Since his death, Paisley Park Studios has been turned into a museum not unlike Graceland, the Memphis estate of Elvis Presley. Some Prince fans lamented Friday over the commercialism of the tours and now, the high price of the remembrance celebration tickets.
- 'We just have to love each other' -
Born Prince Rogers Nelson, the reign of this enigmatic, androgynous guitar wizard began at First Avenue, a legendary Minneapolis night club. It will be among the more affordable dance-party sites where his heartbroken devotees can turn out this weekend to celebrate.
Electric Fetus, the longtime Minneapolis music store where he loved to shop and release new music, planned in-store events, too.
"If you want to know anything about Prince, listen to his music, because he put his all into his music," said Nevia Washington, a 47-year-old nurse from Omaha who paid $500 for general admission to the Paisley Park celebration.
"Love the skin you're in; love each other as God loves you -- that was his message," Washington said. "It doesn't matter what race, what nationality, we just have to love each other."
Fans from the area talked about knowing Prince as a Jehovah's Witness or as an ordinary, polite guy who rode his bicycle around town. Many from near and far spoke of his charitable acts, which he did quietly.
Tributes were everywhere Friday at Paisley Park, from fans' tattoos to graffiti in a pedestrian tunnel under busy Highway 5 which passes in front of Paisley Park.
"Life is just a party, and parties weren't meant to last," reads one scrawled graffiti message. "Goodnight, sweet Prince."

Saturday, April 22nd 2017
Joy Powell

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