There’s no doubt Prince was one of the most outstanding entertainers of our time. But in discussing his contributions to the world, one would be remiss to fail to also examine his role within Black culture—not just as a musician, but as a figure within Black labor movements and an advocate of social consciousness.

From May 24-26, the world’s first academic conference devoted to Prince sought to explore this. Titled “Purple Reign: An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Life and Legacy of Prince,” the three-day event called for scholars from all over to meet in England and analyze what Prince actually meant.

“Prince is Black,” Zaheer Ali, Adjunct Instructor at NYU, told CASSIUS. “And I don’t mean that any kind of flippant way; I mean in terms of his convergence and integration into the community and its traditions and culture and politics.” Ali—who attended and spoke during the conference at the University of Salford—worked with author and social justice scholar Monique Morris and Dereca Blackmon, Associate Dean and Director of the Diversity and First-Gen Office at Stanford University, on a panel called “Free the Slave: Prince and the Black Freedom Movement.”

Check out the rest of the interview here.

Purple Reign: How The World’s First Academic Conference Devoted To Prince Reclaimed His Blackness

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