prince: still mysterious, but now in his own words

October 31, 2019

Throughout Prince’s career we learned some of his story through his music, and got some rare glimpses of who he was in interviews. Everyone who came across him has a “Prince story” that those of us who did not have the pleasure, would be asked to share. Though these outlets and people often allowed him to share messages with his audience, the world remained unsatisfied with the amount of information they were given about someone they felt they needed to know everything about. This universal desire to know more about Prince created an opportunity for those who did not know him or his true story to step up and write about him as if they did. The result of this has often been misconceptions, and inaccurate views of the artist. Eventually, the man himself got tired of the false prints of his very real life and agreed to take his narrative into his own hands. Thanks to people like literary force Esther Newberg and of course Prince himself, we now have a memoir on Prince started by him, interrupted by his passing and finally finished and published by Spiegel & Grau. 

Yes, before he passed, Prince was ready to tell his own story in his own words. The Beautiful Ones, a memoir was published on October 29th. Because his life was cut short, it is a hybrid of a scrapbook and fragmented memoir with 28 handwritten pages completed by Prince before his passing. He wrote in his style, replacing “I” with “eye”, you with “U”, are with “R”, “to” with “2” and “for” with “4”. 

It was Prince who decided his book would be named after a song from Purple Rain,” that it would be a how-to guide for creatives, a primer on African American entrepreneurship, and  “a handbook for the brilliant community” all “wrapped in autobiography, wrapped in biography,” as per the Washington Post‘s description.    

Dan Piepenbring, a young editor at The Paris Review got the sought-after gig of being Prince’s co-writer. In the introduction, which was excerpted in The New Yorker, he writes of the final product, saying, “The right book could add new layers to his mystery, Prince thought, even as it stripped others away.” The Washington Post continues that “Prince did not necessarily want to be understood, merely misunderstood in a new way, a desire that would seem to be fundamentally at odds with the business of memoir writing.”

Purchase the memoir by Prince HERE.