06-19-2018  1:22 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Prosecutor: Oregon man justified in shooting near hotel

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A heavy equipment operator was legally justified when he shot and wounded a knife-wielding man last month outside an Oregon hotel, a prosecutor said Monday.However, Robert Garris was foolish to appoint himself "sheriff of the Days Inn" and initiate a confrontation with the...

Some forest trails remain closed long after 2017 wildfire

IDANHA, Ore. (AP) — Some trails in Oregon's Willamette National Forest remain closed because of damage from a wildfire that scorched the area last year.The Whitewater Trail into the Jefferson Park area remains closed. Other trails, including some in the Fall Creek area near Eugene, also are...

Spokane man convicted in 2015 deadly shooting

MOSES LAKE, Wash. (AP) — A Spokane man has been convicted of killing a Moses Lake teenager during a 2015 robbery attempt.The Columbia Basin Herald reports Jeremiah Smith was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree assault and first-degree unlawful possession...

Police seize 2,500 marijuana plants from 6 Tacoma homes

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say eight people have been arrested after police searched six Tacoma houses connected to an illegal marijuana growing operation.The News Tribune reports authorities seized at least 2,500 marijuana plants from the properties that police searched Monday...

OPINION

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Wrenching scenes of migrant children being separated from their parents at the southern border are roiling campaigns ahead of midterm elections, emboldening Democrats on the often-fraught issue of immigration while forcing an increasing number of Republicans to break from President Donald Trump on...

City where many slaves entered US to apologize for slavery

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina city where almost half of all the slaves brought to the United States first set foot on American soil is ready to apologize for its role in the slave trade.The resolution expected to be passed by the Charleston City Council on Tuesday offers a...

School honoring Confederate general to be renamed for Obama

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia city is rebranding its only school named after a Confederate general to honor the United States' first black president.The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Richmond School Board voted 6-1 Monday to rename J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School to Barack Obama...

ENTERTAINMENT

List of winners from the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Winners of the MTV Movie & TV Awards, presented Saturday at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, California:Movie of the year: "Black Panther"Actor in a Movie: Chadwick Boseman, "Black Panther"Show of the Year: "Stranger Things"Actor in a Show: Millie Bobby Brown,...

In 'Jurassic World,' a dino-sized animal-rights parable

NEW YORK (AP) — The dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park" are many things. They are special-effects wonders. They are unruly house guests. And they are some of the biggest, most foot-stomping metaphors around.Since Steven Spielberg's 1993 original, the dinos of "Jurassic Park" — many of them...

Immigration detention policy becomes major issue in media

NEW YORK (AP) — In a phone conversation with her executive producer over the weekend, "CBS This Morning" anchor Gayle King wondered if there wasn't more the network could do on the story of children being separated from parents through the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

On a big night for 'Panther,' Boseman honors real-life hero

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — The MTV Movie & TV Awards gave "Black Panther" its first taste of awards...

US could back 1st pot-derived medicine, and some are worried

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A British pharmaceutical company is getting closer to a decision on whether...

Looking for signs of global warming? It's all around you

GOTHIC, Colo. (AP) — David Inouye is an accidental climate scientist.More than 40 years ago, the University...

Engine catches fire on plane with Saudi WCup team, none hurt

MOSCOW (AP) — Officials say an engine of a Russian plane carrying the Saudi Arabian soccer team to a World...

3 men die of 6 wounded in southern Sweden drive-by shooting

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Three of the six men who were injured in a drive-by shooting in the center of...

In Mexico, longtime foes 'AMLO' and elite getting pragmatic

MEXICO CITY (AP) — On the campaign trail, presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has railed...

Prince performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
NEKESA MUMBI MOODY, AP Entertainment Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Slight, soft-spoken and just 5-foot-2, Prince improbably cut an imposing figure.

So it was two years ago, when I waited in his Paisley Park studios for what would be our third and final sit down: Me, the commoner, awaiting the prince who was actually king.

The ground rules for the interviews were always intimidating: No cameras, no phones, and absolutely no taping of any sort. He had wanted to prevent me from taking written notes as well, but I balked: How else to keep record of an interview that I thought would run a couple of hours, and actually stretched into the morning hours?

Yet when he walked in the room, wearing a cream-colored flowing outfit and an image of himself on his shirt, what emanated was warmth. Smiles and jokes followed, and Prince revealed a man who was insightful, intelligent, humble, spiritual and even playful — he played pingpong with his fellow musicians in see-through acrylic heels.

It was a side of Prince he did not share with many: For most, the persona was the mercurial, sullen genius, standing alone, the public at a distance.

Perhaps it was purposeful, to keep the shroud of privacy that eludes most celebrities, to keep a bit of Prince Rogers Nelson separate from the artist formerly and then once again known as Prince.

But in interviews, his layers peeled away, exposing wit and humanity.

The Purple One extended that particular persona to his surroundings — purple was everywhere, from his dressing room to his Paisley Park studio.

Candles contributed to the peaceful ambience. An attentive host, midway through our marathon interview, he insisted that I must eat, and dispatched an assistant to get me something at a nearby restaurant (though it couldn't be meat, because Prince was a vegetarian). When I finished, he cleared my plate.

He wanted to share a lot — up to a point. In our last interview, he took me to one of what were surely several inner-sanctums at Paisley Park, and played me unheard music; he also popped up YouTube to play me some of his inspirations, from Dionne Warwick to James Brown.

At another point, he pulled me aside and asked if I had gotten everything I needed, and proceeded to talk to me about everything from his religion to what he thought of Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix. Still later, he called me into a TV room to watch a late-night talk show appearance featuring Anthony Anderson recounting meeting Prince, but when it was over, and I wanted to talk with him about it, he was gone.

It was nearly 2 a.m., and it was clear my time was up.

___

Our first meeting came in 2004: He was celebrating renewed success after his first album in several years, "Musicology." He greeted me with a smile, and let me into his dressing room but first checked to make sure I was following the rules: "No tape recorder, right?"

Once we sat down, Prince explained that he didn't want to be taped because he wanted us both to be fully engaged in the interview. At other times in our interviews over the years, he would ask me to stop taking notes, so I could fully absorb all that he had to say.

He talked about his spirituality: After being introduced by musician Larry Graham, he had become a Jehovah's Witness in the latter years of his life, and the star who used to relish shocking audiences with sexually explicit lyrics took most of those songs off his concert playlist: No cursing was allowed in his presence either. Bible references peppered our conversation: He would point to the scripture to underscore his points (and he knew his verses well).

"What we have today is the same situation right now that Noah faced," he told me in 2004. "Some rain is going to come, and it's time to get on the ark. The best thing we can do is to keep our lives in order and our conduct clean."

He was also socially aware, particularly when it came to matters involving the African-American community. While in his prime he would embrace racial ambiguity and, in interviews, he spoke forcefully about the disenfranchisement black people; he attributed the uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri to the lack of ownership and positions of leadership of the black community there; and later, in a quip about the movie 2014 sci-fi movie "The Giver," he noted that the future must be all white, because there were no black people in the film.

Perhaps the most forceful moments of our interviews over the years dealt with his fierce belief that artists should maintain control over their own music, and how the music industry exploited recording artists for gain. Prince's battle with Warner Bros. Records over his own catalog shook the industry, and would change the trajectory of his career: He wrote "slave" on his face, and changed his name to a symbol as he fought their grasp. He started his own label, NPG Records, and sold music to the fans direct through the internet, though he would later become disenchanted with that model because of rampant piracy, and routinely took his music off of YouTube and streaming services like Spotify.

In our last interview, he had finally taken control of his music back, winning the rights to his master recordings. While he still dealt with labels for distribution, he continued to sound the alarm on the inequities in the music business: "The Bible says you're not supposed to sign your inheritance away."

He had hoped to convince others in the music industry to leave major labels and strike out on their own, and he saw his own label as a conduit. He talked about having a collective, and empowering other artists. Finally, he was in the position of power when it came to his own music, past and present, and he was liberated by it, and it gave him new passion.

He had recorded two new albums in 2014, one solo record, "Art Official Age," along with music from his latest protege act, 3RDEYEGIRL, "PLECTRUMELECTRUM." For the first time, he allowed someone else to produce his music: upcoming musician Joshua Welton. And he boasted that the crop of musicians he was working with was among the best he'd ever experienced.

"It sounds like freedom, and there is a joy to it now," he said of his music-making process.

In many ways, Prince seemed to be on a victory lap in recent months: He was doing more performances, and had signed on to write his memoirs. During one of his last performances in New York, where, as was typical, he performed two sets, he spoke eagerly of putting his memories down to paper.

We'll likely never get a chance to relish in the memories that he was willing to share with us. But we can hold on dearly to the magic of the nearly four decades Prince reigned.

___

This story has been corrected to show that Prince's inspirations were Dionne Warwick and James Brown.

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