Beyond music, Prince's legacy includes black activism. He connected his music to the fight for racial justice, challenged record executives and focused attention on African-American empowerment.
Here's Prince from the 2004 song "Dear Mr. Man":
Listen, ain't no sense in voting, same song with a different name | Might not be in the back of the bus but it sure feel just the same | Ain't nothing fair about welfare, ain't no assistance in aids | We ain't that affirmative about your actions till the people get paid
Then there's 2015's "Baltimore," in which Prince sang about young black men who have either been killed by police or died while in police custody.
Nobody got in nobody's way | So I guess you could say it was a good day | At least a little better than the day in Baltimore | Does anybody hear us pray | For Michael Brown or Freddie Gray? | Peace is more than the absence of war
"Albums still matter. Like books, and black lives, albums still matter, tonight and always," Prince said at the 2015 Grammys.
When Prince died, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza, wrote a tribute to Prince on the group's website.
Prince lived in a mythical universe where Black was not only beautiful, but it was nuanced and complex ... unapologetic, and wise.
"When I wrote that tribute to Prince, I was really reflecting upon not just his contributions to our society through his music and through his artistry," she said. "But I was also reflecting on how his contributions to each of us individually."
Prince wasn't just a musician, she said. He was an activist.
"He deeply wanted all of us to live in peace, and harmony. He wanted us to be honest and truthful. He wanted us to pursue justice. He wanted all of us to be free," she said.
When Black Lives Matter was getting off the ground, Prince gave the group money to expand its work, so Garza asked how they could thank him for his support.
"The response that we got was that he didn't want that kind of acknowledgement," Garza said. "That it was more important to him that we saw ourselves as change agents, and that we believed in our ability to get free."
On a recent day, a Prince song is playing on an old jukebox inside Sabathani Community Center, formerly the Minneapolis junior high school Prince attended. Sabathani's executive director, Cindy Booker is showing off photos of more than 85 black professionals who attended the school. Prince, she said, never forgot his roots, and returned often to support music and literacy programs for black and Latino youth.
"When he reaches out to the community, he does it in a most thoughtful manner, really meeting the needs of what different organizations might need at a particular time," Booker said. "It was, 'I'm not going to be satisfied with just a piece of the pie. I want to get the portions I deserve. An how can we work together to do that, and as an African American man, I'm going to illustrate to you the importance and value of that.'"
The Sabathani Center will host a block party from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 30.
Eric Deggans got to meet Prince after seeing him last summer at Paisley Park. The NPR television critic said Prince always stood his ground.
Deggans said Prince told a group of black journalists that he was against contracts with major label recording companies.
"He called the contracts with them slavery," Deggans said. "He said he would never advise a young artist to sign with a major label for their career. He talked about feeling insulted when he was talking to iTunes...and they wouldn't give him the same amount for the Beatles catalogue, which was $400 million."
While Prince spoke about the music industry for nearly 45 minutes, Deggans couldn't help but notice the air of mystique he cultivated, especially since he was wearing a gold lame outfit, a tunic, pants, high heels, and wore a picked-out afro.
"He defined what it meant to be a pop star. He defined what it meant to be black, he defined what it meant to be whatever he chose to be, and he reflected that in his music," Deggans said.
Correction (April 29, 2016): A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote to Eric Deggans.