Musicians including Solange Knowles, Questlove, Sheila E. and TV on the Radio joined scholars and cultural critics at Yale University January 25 through January 28 for a conference that examined Prince and David Bowie’s multifaceted impact on pop culture.
“Blackstar Rising & The Purple Reign: Celebrating the Legacies of David Bowie and Prince” featured a series of panels, talks and performances that centered the legacies of the boundary-smashing artists. Pitchfork reports that the conference was organized by Dr. Daphne Brooks, a professor of African-American studies whose work focuses primarily on the intersection of art, race and gender. Several of the sessions focused explicitly on the Purple One’s politically and socially confrontational artistry.
Knowles’ January 26 keynote conversation with Dr. Brooks was not, on its surface, one of those sessions. Most of their exchange focused on her album “A Seat at the Table,” but Knowles addressed Prince’s legacy in a statement about the keynote to Refinery 29. “I loved being able to unpack and share the layers of the making ‘A Seat at the Table,’ and in return, it provided me with an examination and incredible insight into to my process and experiences while creating this album,” she said. “I was beyond honored that Yale invited me to celebrate Prince’s principles of artist ownership and how they have inspired me through my own artistic journey.” Although Yale did not release any official audio or video from the sessions, you can listen to unofficial audio from Dr. Brooks and Solange’s conversation above.
Predominantly Black rock band TV on the Radio closed out the conference with a concert on Saturday (January 28) night. Check out the group’s performance of ”Nothing Compares 2 U” below.