Since Prince passed away on Thursday, those close to him are coming forward with details of the music legend’s generosity — something that he kept quiet, per his spiritual beliefs.
Van Jones, a CNN political commentator who worked on green jobs in the Obama administration, noted that music “obviously” was very important to Prince, but “he’s a humanitarian first and foremost.”
“He’s not the kind of friend that was there for you when you don’t need him. But if you do need him, he is there 1,000 percent, whether you know him or not,” Jones said. “There are people right now who have solar panels on their houses in Oakland, California, that Prince paid for and they don’t even know it. There are people who — charities, there are people in hospitals right now who get anonymous gifts.”
“He never wanted anybody to know how much of a humanitarian he was. He’s a Jehovah’s Witness. They are not supposed to speak about their good works, but this is a guy who cared so much. If you’re talking to him, he’s talking about everything in the world. He’s talking about Greek philosophy, he’s talking about philosophies in Egypt, he’s talking about humanity.”
Jones added that Prince was also “the funniest guy” in addition to “just an unbelievable all-around human being.”
“Not just a musician, a great human being at every conceivable level,” he said on CNN.
Jones recalled that after he stepped down from his White House position Prince came over to his house and “told me something that changed my life… go to Jerusalem. He said, stay there for a couple weeks and pray.”
“He said, and then when you come back, take a blank piece of paper and just write down everything you think should happen, and I will help you make it happen.”
Years later, Jones and Prince created Yes We Code, an initiative teaching hi-tech job skills to low-income youths.
“Imagine the creativity that goes in that music. That never cuts off, OK? So when he’s thinking about politics, theology, religion, children, the poor, that same level of creativity and passion is flowing through everything,” Jones later said.
Stevie Wonder remembered Prince on CNN as someone who was “able to mix the blessing of life of God and yet, you know, the marriage of sex and passion,” and “had fun doing it.”
“I think his spiritual commitment was far bigger than, you know, him having to say he did this and he did that. His commitment was in the action of what he did, not with the satisfaction of letting people know that he did it,” Wonder said.
“…I know that, you know, the almighty God has far greater things for him to do eternally. So I just hope that we celebrate his music and celebrate his purpose that he fulfilled.”
In a 1985 MTV interview, Prince stressed that he believed in God and the afterworld, and prayed every night. “I don’t ask for much,” he said. “I just say ‘thank you.'”