Prince wrote his first song when he was seven. He played every single instrument featured on his first album. He played the O2 21 nights in a row in 2007, yet he would often rock up at local Minneapolis venues for impromptu gigs. And of course, Purple Rain… surely the greatest guitar riff of all time.
He wasn’t just an incredible performer. He was also a fierce philanthropist. But no one found out until after he died - two years ago this month.
The day after Prince passed away, his friend Van Jones gave an emotional interview on TV. He told the world that Prince’s musical genius was only part of the story: “the world needs to know that it wasn't just the music”.
It turned out, Prince was passionate about making sure everyone had access to clean energy. “There are people who have solar panels right now on their houses in Oakland, California, that don't know Prince paid for them.”
The programme Prince funded was called Green For All. Their mission is to fight climate change and inequality together, and make sure everyone can get involved in clean energy. One of their projects trained young people from diverse backgrounds to install solar panels in their neighbourhoods. In the words of Jones: "He's trying to create something that everybody can dance to. Politically, poor kids putting up solar panels? Everybody can dance to that.”
It wasn’t just clean energy. Prince supported loads of good causes - from community gardens, food banks and arts festivals to racial justice, women’s shelters and coding education.
Why keep it a secret? It’s not totally clear. One hypothesis is that Prince didn’t want his fame to overshadow the cause he was working for. He wanted the work to be the focus, not him. But he was keen that people took action themselves.
So it seems right to remember Prince’s amazing legacy by honouring his commitment to good causes like clean energy - and get involved ourselves. While wearing purple, of course.
This blog post was written by our climate activist pals over at 10:10.