For the most part, Twitter and Facebook are angry cesspools of bickering strawmen. But when an icon passes, we briefly put aside our squabbles and, however briefly, the Internet becomes a stream of beautiful tributes to a fallen hero. That’s doubly true of Prince, the genderqueer genius, guitar god, shade king and all-around ambassador of excellence who shockingly passed away at the age of 57 on Thursday.
Here are some of our favorite Prince tributes on the Internet right now.
The Best Prince Stories
Perhaps no celebrity generated more stories than Prince. Every true story about him sounds like it was made up on the spot—like someone improvising a tale about the most Prince-like thing possible. So sure of his identity, so confident in his own reality, Prince crafted a world where anything could happen and frequently did.
Kevin Smith Tries and Fails to Film Prince’s Documentary About Religion
Kevin Smith has never put a story to screen as wild and wonderful as this half-hour recollection of the time Prince asked him to film a documentary about Prince’s religious beliefs. As with many Prince stories, the less you know about this one going in, the better. Just watch it.
Tyler Perry’s ‘Purple Rain’ Cover Gets Upstaged by Prince Himself
Apparently, at one point, Tyler Perry had a brief rendition of “Purple Rain” in one of his Madea shows at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. Prince, famously choosy about who got to use his music, called Perry to give him a piece of his mind, and the rest is fantastic history.
Charlie Murphy Gets Legendarily Owned by Prince’s Basketball Prowess
The most wonderful Prince story of all time, as made famous by an incredible re-enactment on The Chapelle Show. The story is almost too incredible to be believed, but Murphy swears it all went down exactly as he recounted it and anyway, Prince never denied it.
Prince Replaces Questlove With Finding Nemo
Last year, Roots frontman Questlove came out with a Prince story for the ages, and it involves Finding Nemo, Fela Kuti and, you know what, you just need to watch the whole thing for yourself.
The Best Prince Covers
Many people ran to Spotify to cleanse their sorrows with some Prince tunes, only to find that Prince music is notoriously sparse on the Internet (but it is all streaming on Tidal!). In lieu of the genuine article, a few musicians have released their own covers of Prince songs to help fill the Prince-shaped void.
Jennifer Hudson and the Cast of The Color Purple Covering “Purple Rain”
How good is Jennifer Hudson? Jennifer Hudson dropped a fantastic “Purple Rain” cover onstage within hours of the announcement of Prince’s passing and good god, it’s a miracle.
The Hamilton Cast Covering ‘Let’s Go Crazy’
Lin Manuel-Miranda and Co. took a little time at the end of the hottest event in New York City to pay tribute the way Prince would have wanted: with a foundation-shattering dance party to “Let’s Go Crazy.”
Questlove DJ’s an Entire Prince Set to Finding Nemo
Not quite a cover, but still notable: Questlove DJ’d the Brooklyn Bowl on Thursday night, and spent the entire time spinning Prince songs. And by way of showing he was a good sport about the story recounted above, he set the whole thing to clips of Finding Nemo.
The Best Words
Perhaps it’s folly to even try to sing about Prince, given how singular he was in his ability to convey emotion and energy through music. A few people tried to sum up their thoughts over video or Twitter, and some of them said it all about as well as anyone could.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Few funny people are as gifted as Colbert at sober reflection, and he and bandleader Jon Batista took a moment to swap stories of discovering Prince and his influence on their future work.
America’s favorite uncle dropped by The Late Show on Thursday night, and he had Prince on the brain as well. He spun a delightful story about staying up late to catch Prince and realizing that someone had finally “cracked Rick James’ code.”
Timberlake has garnered a fair share of Prince comparisons in his time and, fair or not, he took to Instagram with a pretty classy tribute, saying “we have lost our greatest living musician.”
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
A photo posted by Justin Timberlake (@justintimberlake) on
Corden had wrapped up the Thursday taping of his show, but took a quick moment to film a brief, lovely tribute to Prince (we’d noted just last week that Prince was our top pick for a future segment of Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke”).
Can’t put it much better than that.
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To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.
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