Prince Rogers Nelson was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was a musical innovator and known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant dress and makeup, and wide vocal range. His music integrates a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia, and pop.
He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility.Rolling Stone ranked Prince at number 27 on its list of 100 Greatest Artists—”the most influential artists of the rock & roll era”.
Prince quietly supported his friend Van Jones’ Rebuild the Dream charity and its YesWeCode initiative, which has a mission of training 100,00 low-opportunity young adults for high-paying careers in technology. As Jones told CNN, Prince was passionate about finding ways to diversify the technology field.
Prince “really believed that young people could change the world,” said Jones, noting that the singer didn’t like to boast.
Along with Jay Z, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and others Tidal artists, Prince performed in a charity concert this past October which raised $1.5 million for Black Lives Matter. “He believed in the Black Lives Matter kids so much—and he had a dream for them,” his friend Jones told CNN. “He said, ‘I hope that they become an economic force. I hope that they use their genius to start businesses.'”
Prince will forever be beloved in Minnesota for his invaluable contributions to his home state, but his generosity had no geographical boundaries. In 2011, Prince donated $250,000 to Eau Claire Promise Zone, an organization working to help preschoolers and their families in struggling areas of Columbia, S.C., at the request of the town’s mayor.
“He was an incredibly generous and magnanimous guest,” Columbia mayor Steve Benjamin told TheState.com. “I think he’s one of the most gifted and talented artists in American history…I know a lot of hearts are broken all across the world right now.”
Prince got his big break in New York, and he made it a point to give back to the Big Apple as his career reached new heights. Per ABC 7, he donated $1 million to the Harlem Children’s Zone, a non-profit organization for poverty-stricken children and families living in Harlem. He also donated $250,000 to the Uptown Dance Academy when he found out they were going to lose their space back in 2014. Thanks to the donation, the studios were able to remain open.