There’s no doubt about it: Prince was a prodigies whose sungs and mode helped to cement his status as both a music and cultural rights icon.

But the late legend likewise stood for so much more.

Prince was an activist and exponent for many social issues — and although he didn’t speak out about matters of politics in public often, he didn’t truly need to. Sovereign was political because blackness is inherently political.

Here are 7 routes that Prince presented his political strength, and how his art and activism were closely connected:

John Leyba via Getty Images
Prince succumbed on Thursday, April 21 st at his Paisley Park estate in Minneapolis.

1. Prince applied his songs to express their views on serious social issues .

Prince called out President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policies and America’s involvement in the Cold War in his 1981 song, “Ronnie Talk To Russia.” He also invited political commentator and philosopher Dr. Cornell West to be featured on his 2004 line titled, “Dear Mr. Man, ” in which Prince called out new systems of strength in America and the criticize feigns they have on marginalized beings.

“Might not be in the back of the bus but it sure suffer just the same/ ain’t nothing fair about aid/ ain’t no assistance in AIDS/ we ain’t that affirmative about your acts until the peoples of the territories get paid, ” Prince sang.

2. Prince foreground the question of hasten and expressed support for the Black Lives Matter Movement .

Prince mentions Dr. Martin Luther King in his 2009 song “Dreamer.” “I was born and parent on the same plantation/ In the united states of the crimson, lily-white and blue/ I never knew that I was different/ Till Dr. King was on the balcony/ Lying in a brutal consortium, ” the texts read.

Years before that song’s introduction, Prince liberated a line in 1995 titled “We March, ” which spoke about the need for planned protest against racism: “Now’s the time to find a rhyme/ that’s got a reason and frees the brain/ From indignant imagines, the racist kind/ If we all wanna a change then come on get in line, ” Prince sang.

“Like volumes and black lives, albums still matter.” Prince

The song was liberated precisely two decades before the Black Lives Matter movement problem a widespread call for racial justice and equality. In point, BLM was a move that deeply inspired Prince and moved him to make a riveting and conspicuous remark about hasten just last year:

“Like volumes and black lives, albums still matter, ” Prince said in a resounding address to the world on the 2015 Grammy stage. His affirm eventually became one of his most memorable political times in recent years.

3. Prince paid significant tribute to Baltimore.

Just three months later, Prince liberated his song “Baltimore, ” which was a touching tribute to the city that handled the deaths among Freddie Gray, a black 18 -year-old resident who died from spinal cord injuries he maintained while in the imprisonment of the Baltimore police following his arrest. The song also mentioned Michael Brown, another black teen who was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

“Does anybody hear us pray/ for Michael Brown or Freddie Gray? ” Prince sang in a piece which touched on the civil unrest that unfolded in the city immediately following Gray’s death.

4. Prince presented incessant support to black America’s youth.

To show its gratitude for Baltimore and its inhabitants, Prince hosted a free “Rally 4 Peace” benefit concert that attracted thousands of attendees. While on stage, he praised Baltimore’s black young persons who he believed to be strong agents of change capable of mending American’s broken system. “It’s going to take the young people to cook it this time, ” he said in the song’s music video.“We need new ideas, new life.”

Prince said he craved the concert to be a “catalyst for pause and reflection in accordance with the outpouring of violence that has gripped Baltimore and areas throughout the U.S ., ” according to The Baltimore Sun. Meanwhile, proceeds from the performance went to see various local youth-based kindness in the city. He likewise eventually donated$ 1 million to the Harlem Children’s Zone, a non-profit organization that helps poverty-stricken families in Harlem, New York.

5. Prince adored his blackness and he adored black people .

Prince symbolized best available of black excellency and he advocated for the well-being of black folks everywhere. An even more touching history of Prince’s involvement in the black community came from Rev. Al Sharpton who told MSNBC that Prince once reached out to him in effort to extend his help to Trayvon Martin’s family following the killing of the 17 -year-old teen in 2012.

“Prince called me and communicated some stores that I rendered to the family for him, and never craved recognition for it, ” Sharpton said. “He was one that didn’t wishes to make a lot about about his humanitarian and activist connections, but he was very much to participate in “whats going on” in the country.”

6. Prince relentlessly pushed back against the music manufacture.

Prince was the eventual regulate breaker and he successfully crafted his own opening in an industry notoriously known to comprise the work of artists for its own capital gain. He invariably fought against that and wanted to take back dominance of his make and even protested by writing the word “SLAVE” on his neck during a public rendition. It was a daring demo for a black artist at that time, which reaped deep symbolism to America’s racial past. He eventually changed his epithet to that of a typify following international disputes with his preserve description Warner Friend in 1993. In a press release, Prince interpreted:

Prince is the name my mother gave me at birth. Warner Bros. took the epithet, marked it, and used it as the central marketing tool to promote all of the music that I wrote … I simply became a pawn that was used to realise more money for Warner Bros.

7. Prince digests as a potent typify of advocacy and individuality.

Prince reinvented what it means to be an master and, more specifically, he redefined what it means to be a black male musician in America. Plus, he did it all while unapologetically rocking smoke hairstyles — from his iconic press-and-curl to a dynamic picked-out fro.

Ultimately, his impressive catalogue of make exemplifies the strength of fusing artistry with activism.

“Prince’s indisputable genius constitutes a major minute in its own history of American music in general, black music in particular, ” Dr. West previously told theGrio . “And his political progression, which is grounded in a spirituality, but likewise connected to fundamental refer and care for poverty-stricken and working people, berths him as an exemplary freedom fighter…how rare it is that you view best available of both musical genius and freedom fighter in that way.”

May his purple reign forever.

Correction : An earlier version of such articles incorrectly described Trayvon Martin’s death as a result of a “police killing.” George Zimmerman was not a police officer where reference is shooting and killed Martin .

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