Prince's "Mary Don't You Weep" Video Shares A Poignant Message About Gun Violence — VIDEO
More than two years after his death, Prince continues to spread messages of peace and love through his music and artistry. On Friday, Sept. 21, the entertainer's estate released his first posthumous album, Piano & a Microphone 1983, along with an accompanying video for Prince's "Mary Don't You Weep" that delivers a poignant message which should not be ignored. The newly-released video, directed by Salomon Ligthelm, sheds light on the impact of gun violence and how it affects the youth of America — an issue that was near and dear to legendary singer's heart.
Showcasing alarming statistics of injuries and fatalities, the video opens by revealing, "Nearly 1300 children die and 5790 are treated for gunshot wounds in the United States alone." The stats are followed by quote from Prince himself, which he shared during his "Rally 4 Peace" concert in the wake of the Freddie Gray's death in 2015. It reads, “The system is broken. It’s going to take the young people to fix it this time. We need new ideas, new life...”
As it advances, the video depicts a young man lying lifelessly on the floor with his family grieving over his body. It then moves to a moment when the victim appears from heavens to view the agony that this tragedy is putting his loved ones through.
In a later scene, the young man attempts to console his mother amidst her devastation at his funeral. The clip concludes with another quote from Prince which states: "Compassion is an action word with no boundaries."
Prince's version of "Mary Don't You Weep," which was released on what would have been the singer's 60th birthday this past June as the new album's lead single, is a cover of an enduring African-American spiritual that predated the Civil War. It appears as the fourth track on Prince's Piano & a Microphone 1983, which Fader notes are a selection of solo songs that were recorded during a rehearsal at his home studio in Minnesota that year. The project also includes a rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” previously unreleased versions of “Purple Rain,” “17 Days,” which recently debuted as the album's second single, and more.
The 35-minute-long album reveals a track listing of nine songs in total:
- "17 Days"
- "Purple Rain"
- "A Case Of You"
- "Mary Don’t You Weep"
- "Strange Relationship"
- "International Lover"
- "Cold Coffee & Cocaine"
- "Why The Butterflies"
The album notably shares its title with the name of Prince’s final concert tour, which he was in the midst of at the time of his untimely death on April 21, 2016. Many of the songs from the new album were previously shared through a bootleg called Intimate Moments with Prince, according to Variety. However, Prince Estate entertainment advisor, Troy Carter, told the magazine that the new album will share more "exploratory" tracks than what was included on the unauthorized version.
In a statement to Billboard, Carter described the project, calling it “raw, intimate recording, which took place at the start of Prince’s career right before he achieved international stardom, is similar in format to the Piano & A Microphone Tour that he ended his career with in 2016." He continued, sharing, "The Estate is excited to be able to give fans a glimpse of his evolution and show how his career ultimately came full circle with just him and his piano."
An activist and cultural icon, Prince, who was born Prince Rogers Nelson, died suddenly on April 21, 2016, at the age of 57, leaving a legacy that many won't soon forget. Although he may no longer be present in his earthly life, Prince continues to touch and inspire the world through his music and its empowering message.