He changed music history and was the soundtrack for countless people’s lives, and now music legend Prince could soon be awarded a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal by the U.S. government.
Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press has reported that “Minnesota’s Congressional delegation on Monday, Oct. 25, introduced a resolution to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to pop superstar Prince, citing his ‘indelible mark on Minnesota and American culture.’”
Should the Purple One earn the title, he would be in good company. According to Kennedy, “the medal is one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, and past recipients include George Washington, the Wright Brothers, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, the Navajo Code Talkers, the Tuskegee Airmen and the Dalai Lama.”
In a statement, Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who introduced the resolution, said, “the world is a whole lot cooler because Prince was in it — he touched our hearts, opened our minds, and made us want to dance. With this legislation, we honor his memory and contributions as a composer, performer and music innovator. Purple reigns in Minnesota today and every day because of him.”
Sadly, the music legend passed away on April 21, 2016, at the age of just 57, after an accidental fentanyl overdose.
“The resolution for Prince is led by Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat who represents Minneapolis in the House,” Kennedy said. “The full Minnesota delegation serves as original co-sponsors, including Sen. Tina Smith and Reps. Jim Hagedorn, Angie Craig, Dean Phillips, Betty McCollum, Tom Emmer, Michelle Fischbach, Pete Stauber and Omar.”
In her own statement, Omar said, “Prince is a Minnesota icon. He showed that it was OK to be a short, Black kid from Minneapolis and still change the world. He not only changed the arc of music history; he put Minneapolis on the map.”
The Congressional resolution also cited Prince’s many career accolades, including his seven Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, Oscar for the soundtrack to Purple Rain, membership in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and more than 150 million records sold worldwide over the course of his life.
In a fun bit of trivia, the introduction of the resolution also means that the “love symbol” (the glyph that Prince briefly used for his name) is now officially and forever included as one of the few non-letter or numeral characters ever added to the Congressional record.
The Congressional Gold Medal would require support from at least two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives before being signed into law by the President. Should Prince receive the posthumous award, lawmakers plan to gift the Congressional medal to the Smithsonian Institution and display it at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.