On Saturday, film director Spike Lee threw an outdoor party in Brooklyn, N.Y. in honor of the late Prince, whose birthday is on Tuesday, where he would have turned 58.
According to USA Today, the six-hour party was described as a celebration of Prince’s music and life, not his death. It was revealed last week that his death was caused by an accidental overdose of the opioid painkiller fentanyl. Famous attendees included actress Rosie Perez and Al Sharpton, along with many more who paid tribute to the Purple One by jamming to his hits “When Doves Cry” and “Erotic City.” Some fans came dressed like Prince, wore t-shirts with his likeness on them, and some even donned purple hair.
“Y’all came to celebrate Prince today? Will you celebrate him tomorrow? Will you celebrate him next week?” asked TV host Sway Calloway, to the crowd, who responded with applause.
Calloway continued, “Will you celebrate him next year? Will you celebrate him the rest of your life?”
Associated Press reported that “the dress code was purple and getting down was a requirement.”
Spike Lee, who emceed the event along with Calloway, came to the party carrying a gold Prince symbol and was followed by a group of kid drummers. They were appropriately all dressed in purple, Prince’s signature color.
Further, the organizers gave away purple hats and posters to the crowd of around 200 people.
“As one who knew him for many years, I told Spike maybe he left ’cause he heard there was a jam session,” said Al Sharpton, who also paid tribute to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who died on Saturday morning.
Sharpton continued, “And Prince has heated up the band on the other side. And somewhere I see Ali waving his hands saying ‘Purple Rain, Purple Rain.” They’re having a big jam session.”
Brooklyn Reader reported that Lee made the announcement about the party honoring his friend Prince on May 30 via Facebook with just a few words, “Come dressed in purple.”
Lee made the event possible with the help of his company 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks and the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration. It was free to attend in honor of Prince’s love of community events and his charity endeavors and featured sets from DJs Kim Lightfoot and Timmy Richardson spinning the Purple One’s hits.
In advance of the event, Chanel Ali of Brooklyn Reader, described it as “perfectly situated to serve an adult crowd on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon.”
Spike Lee had teased the idea of doing a dance party for Prince in May, according to Entertainment Weekly. The Do The Right Thing director took to Instagram to share the details along with a picture of Prince’s signature symbol. This occurred a day after he attended a ceremony in Los Angeles honoring the Purple One, which was organized by his ex-wives Mayte Garcia and Manuela Testolini.
Lee previously held a more impromptu tribute to Prince on April 21, the day he died, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The block party tribute in Brooklyn was announced on Instagram and even caught the attention of CNN’s Anderson Cooper who interviewed Lee about the tribute.
“We’re having a great time celebrating the Prince!” said Lee, who quoted the song “Let’s Go Crazy” from the Purple Rain soundtrack during the interview.
He continued, “We’re all stunned by his sudden death,” he continued, “but he’s still here in his spiritual form, and we love him.”
“The street, S. Elliott Place between DeKalb and Lafayette Avenues in Fort Greene, was closed to traffic and transformed into a party, with a diverse mix of people pouring in to show their love and appreciation of the Purple One,” said Jen Chung, of Gothamist.
[Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images]