“…now I got an army and we're 3 million strong…”
As the Purple World is firmly established as a real place, I now delve into a discussion of its protective force, the Purple Army.
Now, before you go into the standard Prince Fam argumentative stance and break out the Prince-was-anti-violent sermon, I implore you to reread that quote above from his lyrics. Good grief! Some of y’all LOVE to argue! Consider that the word army is a homonym, and let us begin, as I often like to do, by defining terms. The word has at least three widely accepted meanings:
1a. A large organized body of armed personnel trained for war especially on land
1b: a unit capable of independent action and consisting usually of a headquarters, two or more corps, and auxiliary troops
1c often capitalized : the complete military organization of a nation for land warfare;
2: a great multitude;
3: a body of persons organized to advance a cause.
For this writing, I am applying the second and third meanings. Interestingly, so many words, songs, lyrics have taken on different meanings since his transition. The Purple Army may not have been militant before, but in terms of some folks wanting vengeance in response to his untimely demise, and others (myself included) being willing to rip any offender a new one for speaking negatively or making misstatements of fact about him, it may be fair to say that the first definition just might fit too, LOL.
Describing this force as “a great multitude,” would actually be understating. Purple Fam is worldwide. This collective may have first assembled based on love for the Purple One with the purpose of showing that love, but I think, has transformed, based on current circumstances. We still show love, every day, but can no longer look forward to experiencing him and the band live, or hearing the next item he releases. So, we go forward spreading the word of the most amazing musician to walk this earth for present and future generations to know and understand. We support Real Music by Real Musicians. We give to chartable causes he cared about. We convene in his hometown and celebrate him 2gether.
My perception is that the Purple Army divides into 3 major categories, similar to the US Army, but then splits into 7 Ranks:
First Category – Periwinkle and Periwinkle First Class:
Periwinkle: Periwinkles are sometimes not-so-lovingly called 4/21ers. These are the newbies, the fans born on that terrible day in April 2016. Periwinkles are those who joined the Purple Army in the last year or so, who never saw Prince at a live show, and never purchased any of his albums, prior to his transitioning, but have awakened to the fact that he was, is, and ever shall be the most amazing.
Periwinkle First Class: (P1C)’s are those who were aware of Prince all along, but may have strayed from the Fam, taken a break, never advanced to seeing him live or actually purchasing albums prior to 4/21, but have since completed boot camp, that is, purchased albums, completed beginner-level Prince Lyric, and undertaken a serious study of his work. In order to graduate from the first category, P1C’s must make the Purple Pilgrimage – the trip to Paisley Park, the museum.
Second Category – Amethyst and Core Concord:
Amethyst: This group has always loved and respected the Artist. Members at this rank have most of the albums, and have had them all along. Amethysts have attended at least one, and up to four of his live shows, are fluent in Prince Lyric, and have been to Paisley Park, the museum at least once.
Core Concord: Core Concords meet most if not all of the preceding qualifications and have been to at least five but up to 17 of his live shows. This group may also have attended shows at Paisley when he was there, and it was still his creative center.
Graduation from this level is not as simple, as with his ascension, opportunities to meet the requirements for the third level have diminished greatly. It is possible to skip ranks and/or be promoted by successfully completing extraordinary missions that change the world for the better. He was quoted as saying, “A strong spirit transcends rules.” Everything about this man was/is/ever shall be transcendent. He still inspires people the world over to do extraordinary things in art, music, literature, etc.
Third Category – Distinguished Concord and Concord Premier:
Distinguished Concord: This group reached the third level by attending 18 & over …J (sorry, lyrics just flow out)18-plus shows, traveled continent-to-continent with a tour, and invested their own time and money into the man and his music over several decades. He paid attention to his Fam. He was aware that they saw him repeatedly. He recognized them, acknowledged them. J These are the original NPG Music Club members, the Fam who attended multiple sound checks and after shows, and sat in the “good seats.”
Concord Premier: CP’s are people who had direct relationships to the Purple One. These people are the special individuals whom he depended on for much of what helped him to be who he was on the world stage. They are fellow musicians, photographers, engineers, managers, and the like.
Highest Rank - The Deep Purple Concord Grape of the Purple Army a/k/a The Concord:
Deep Purple Concord Grape “DPCG”: The DPCG meets and exceeds the all the prior qualifications. This is the highest-ranking member of the force, and there is only one. In my estimation, that would be Ms. Sheila Cecilia Escovedo, a/k/a Sheila E. She is a genius-level percussionist/musician/entertainer extraordinaire, who knew him well before The Rain and maintained a relationship with him in various forms(friend/fiancé/colleague, etc.), over several decades. She does a great deal to help others, and makes sure that all things and especially those regarding Prince’s memory/legacy are done with respect, properly, and in order. In the alternative, based on qualifications, I would propose Mr. Morris Hayes.
Membership is revocable. As the foundation of the group is love, those who are hateful to others while using his name, and those who deceive and who exploit him and Fam love and grief for personal gain may find that they have been dishonorably discharged.
Okay, so maybe we don’t all fit neatly into one category. Still, as a person who travels and meets with Purple People from all over the world regularly, I can say that whether folks want to admit it or not, there are classifications within the Fam, and people tend to treat each other one way or another based on perceived and/or established rank. It is what it is.
What’s your Rank? Feel free to comment below.
Much Love 2 u,
Always on Our Minds ~ Forever in Our Hearts #paisleyparkisinyour dcbt<3 #princeandthenpg NPG4Ever NPG4Life Prince IS Music~Music is...Everything I AM Violet #violettheorgangrinder #iamviolet #musiciseverything #npg4life #npg4ever #princeforever #respectthelegacy #prince #mplsgenius #princerogersnelson #hisroyalbadness #purpleyoda #therewillneverbeanother #thebeautifulone #princestagram #prettyman #amazingmusician #princeismusic #realmusic #violetesq #singersongwriter #musicislife
Note: Although there are many comparisons to the US Army in this writing, my intent is not to make light of or diminish in any way, but to provide a model, an example that the reader can follow in terms of grasping my take on the Purple Army.
 Prince. Letitgo. Come. Warner Bros., 1994.
 “Army.” Defs. www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/army Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2018, November 17, 2018.