April 25, 2016

Prince Gave Me Permission

Prince Gave Me Permission

We all need permission.

Permission to do.

Permission to be.

Permission to try.

Permission to have.


I talk a lot with my clients and associates about their brands providing permission. About them standing for something that’s real, putting forth messages that are meaningful, saying things — out loud — that other brands won’t have the courage to say.


I encourage business owners to make it easier for their clients and customers to own themselves and speak for themselves by aligning themselves with brands that feel the way they do about things that are important to them. To give their clients permission.


Last week, the world lost an amazing soul and an amazing brand: Prince Rogers Nelson.


And this morning, as I danced around the house nearly shouting the lyrics to “Cream” and “Gett Off” and “When Doves Cry,” I shocked myself a little when I cried. I was more than a little surprised at the size of the hole that had opened in my heart just days ago when I learned that an icon I longed for — straight from my soul, for so many years — had died alone, in his elevator.


And I realized something for the first time:


Prince gave me permission.


At a time in my life when I was filled, simultaneously, with potential and angst, he gave me permission to ditch the angst.


At a time when I wondered if I was enough, he gave me permission to show myself.


At a time when I struggled with the truest sense of black and white, he gave me permission to see grey. And purple.


And on nights when, as a tortured youthful soul, I would lie on my bed and ache for something more, he gave me permission to bust out.


Prince gave me permission to desire.


Like every other teenage girl, it was perfectly natural for me to have desires. But as a product of a Catholic education heavy on guilt and a mom raised in the 50’s (pregnant at the prom and determined NOT to have her daughter repeat it), it was anything BUT natural for me to feel OK about those desires.


Prince? He gave me permission.


He told me what I already knew – but what no one else would say out loud. That I couldn’t help it. That HE couldn’t help it. That none of us could help it.


He gave me permission to own my desire. Relish in it. Celebrate it. Thank God for it.


Prince gave me permission to FEEL attractive.


If there’s one thing I could teach my teenage son to help ease his pain as he moves through life, it’s that attraction happens on a singular level.


“Attractive” isn’t a quality. It’s a state of being that exists only in the presence of a specific individual who’s perfectly wired to appreciate it.


Prince knew the real score.


And he gave me permission to be attractive. More than attractive. He gave me permission to be sexy. To know with powerful certainty that only specific people would pick up what I was puttin’ down. And that this was A-OK.


He gave me permission to put it down, anyway. To lay it out there, for all the world to look at, but for only the special ones to actually see. He told me I didn’t have to be beautiful to turn him on. Or rich, or cool… or any particular sign. He didn’t want anything specific from me at all, other than a kiss.


Prince gave me permission to be authentic.


I almost hate to use that word because it’s so watered down these days. But when it comes to Prince, it applies more than any word listed next to it in the thesaurus.


Prince gave me permission to be authentic. To NOT try. To own exactly who I was.


He taught me that my imperfections were lovely. That I was lovely.


And in a world where so many people put on and showed off, somehow his outrageous antics, outlandish costumes, outside-the-box lyrics just felt real to me. He was authentically “out there.” And so, I thought, was I.


He told me I had, “the look.” That I was a “natural beauty… unaffected.” And I believed him.


With his leopard print, his capes, his five-o-clock shadow and eyeliner, his purple guitar, his head wraps, and his shy, demure whisper — every bit of it authentically him — he gave me permission to be authentically me, right alongside him.


 Prince gave me permission to be fierce.


He rocked serious girl bands. Or more suitably, they rocked him.

Rhonda Smith on bass. Sheila E on drums. Wendy Melvoin on guitar. Lisa Coleman on keyboards. FIERCE.


And Prince’s protégés?

Appollonia. Vanity. Sinead O’Connor. Sheena Easton… The list goes on and on.


Prince’s women were not for the faint of heart.

They were FIERCE.



Crazy talented.

Magnificently sexy.



Prince celebrated women. He lifted them up. He never shrank around a woman who showed up completely. On the contrary. He pulled her out. Put her on stage. Challenged her. Showcased her.


He gave so many women the chance to be fierce. And he gave me permission, when I was in my early 20’s and itching to set the world on fire:


This is it
It’s time for you to go to the wire
You will hit
‘Cause you got the burnin’ desire
It’s your time
You got the horn so why don’t you blow it
You are fine
You’re filthy cute and baby you know it…


For so many years in my youth, Prince gave me permission.


And now, as I head toward 50, much less in need of validation than of moments of spontaneous elation, he still gives me permission… to shake it with everything I’ve got. Because all those songs of lust and joy and courage and dark, daring beauty? They belong to me and to every other teen who climbed on and rode them to shameless glory.


And so this morning, with my 14-year-old son looking on and shaking his head, I danced like no one was watching. And I shook every bit of junk in my trunk with reckless abandon… because Prince? He told me to.


Who gives YOU permission? Share with me in the comments, below.


RIP Prince Rogers Nelson. Nothing Compares 2 U. June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016.

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27 thoughts on “Prince Gave Me Permission

  1. Sarah says:

    Beautifully said. Thank you♥

    1. Julia Hook says:

      You’re welcome, Sarah. Thanks for reading along.

  2. Lori says:

    I give me permission. Permission to be bold, honest to others and myself, authentic in the direction I take myself and my Company/Brand. I give myself all the necessary “go ahead” to “go ahead” and make mistakes as I figure this out and take huge risks and leaps of faith in my abilities and talents.

    I give myself permission to surround myself with brilliance and the people who will challenge and support me to my fullest potential.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Good for you, Lori. Perfecto. You sound like a badass, and I LOVE that!

  3. Dawn says:

    Wow, great article, I have been a true fan since first album, Prince taught me to freely love and embrace myself, every part of me! Dancing with you!!!

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Thanks, Dawn. I love it!!

  4. Laura says:

    Thank you so much for this. My personal experience was also this. This freedom led me to follow my passions and to be without shame in expressing my own sexuality and visions of what I perceive to be sexy, ludty and fabulous. It was why I formed the orgasmically costumers association in 1991 and my current company Catharsis of Petra. I hope to also inspire women and give them permission to own their beauty!

    You’ve articulated so clearly, and I thank you. I too was dancing like a wild woman as my non year old son looked on with awe.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Thanks so much for the share, Laura. I’m finding out, this morning, that Prince helped a lot of women to shape positive images of themselves. I love it!!

  5. Andra says:

    Wow- I never really listened much Prince, but those raw confessions of yours makes me want to !!

    Thank you for your honesty and truthfulness.

    Thank you for showing all the rainbow colors that make you YOU.

    This is empowering! And who give me permission to step it up and be the best woman I can be? Definitely, the great Vipassana meditator, S N GOENKA. And most recently, RACHEL JAYNE GROOVER, the awesome founder of Art of Feminine Presence. <3

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hey, Andra. You DEFINITELY have to listen to some Prince! It’s seriously empowering. And I will be checking out your gurus, as well! Thanks for reading along, and for sharing!!

  6. Justin Marshall says:

    Great blog post as always Julia.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Thanks, Justin. So glad you’re here!

  7. Stacy S says:

    So well written! You describe what I ( and I’m sure many other women) can not about the effect Prince’s music had in our lives. Music has a way of shaping and influencing our experiences. In my late teens and 20’s Prince’s songs were fun anthems to sing and dance to and until reading your blog post I never recognized the true “effect” his music had on me! Thanks for sharing : )

    1. Julia Hook says:

      It was fun to sing and dance to, wasn’t it, Stacy?? I loved that part, too. I still do. I’m so glad you’re here. And that you rock Prince along with me!!

  8. Nicola Taylor says:

    “If I don think about the fact that you left me,
    If I don’t see the pearls fall from the sky,
    If I don’t hear the accusations of blasphemy,
    If I don’t feel the tears in my eyes;
    This is the best day of my life…….”

    I was given the all clear from my Cancer treatment on the day I found out he had died.

    This sums up how I feel.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Wow, Nicola. What an amazing sentiment. Congratulations to you — for your “all clear.” And I’m sending you healing energy and power. Bittersweet. You live on, my friend. Make the world yours… 100%.

  9. Jenna says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Juju.
    I also danced alone in my living room, and sang…and cried. Prince was a total badass, and a foundation stone for my lifelong love of music and life as art and expression. Remember his stint as The-artist-formerly-know-as-Prince? That was brilliant and tough and bold! Just what we would expect from him 😉 It showed us that the creative force cannot be owned, and that attempts to enslave creativity will not be tolerated.
    He was a genius and an inspiration. His creative example changed the course of my life. I will never not miss him.
    And now, it’s for us to go on without him…..I’m crying a lil, even as I write this.
    And I still hear the world singing Purple Rain, very low, in the back of my mind. I’ve been hearing it, as an almost constant hum, since thursday night.
    Thanks for this, Juju.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hey, Jenna. You’re right — he showed us that a creative force cannot be owned. I’ll be using that one again.

  10. Thanks for Passing on Powerful Permission.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hey, Bernice. My pleasure. We all need permission… Go, girl.

  11. Jackie Camborde says:

    Love this post – just shared it on Facebook. I feel the same – Prince gave me permission to be my weird, artsy, crazy self, no apologies. This has served me really well throughout my career (and sometimes got me in trouble) – knowing who could handle the unedited me is something that I struggled with over the years, but now I am thinking that I am more a “take it or leave it” type of woman, and refuse to hide that, for anyone.

    Kind of liberating – thanks to Prince and the other icons and mentors who validate us and give us permission to be our authentic selves.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hey, Jackie. I can totally relate to the “unedited” version. I’ve been playing that version of myself for about the past 10 years, and it’s not for everyone, but some folks just love it. 😉 I love that you make no apologies. And thanks for the share on Facebook. Means the world to me that you’re reading along and sharing.

  12. Hi beautiful. God gave me permission to Be, Know, and Do from day one. I think many others like Prince were just reminders of what was in us that we never released. Or what we shelter deep within us because of fear, or society’s opinions. I believe we are all pearls. Some fully stranded, some half stranded, and others who are just beginning to realize that they too are pearls. As long as a pearl remains in it’s shell so does it’s value (worth) to share with the world. God is my inspiration, and permission to grow in life, and bloom in my own shoes. Sometimes society teaches us that we have to be in the spotlight to shine, matter or feel worthy. But God has taught me, you don’t need the spotlight when your light to shine comes from within (true wellspring of being you). Prince lived with a purpose to accept who he was with no apologies, excuses, or explanations to others. You either accepted him, or not. I think that’s what I love about him because he was bold, colorful, unique, and didn’t think outside the box, but he got rid of it. So, yes God gave me permission, but Prince showed us what that looked like when we accept God’s permission to be totally amazing.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Thanks so much Shenine. So beautifully said. Prince did show us what it looked like to be totally amazing. I love the way you see it. And I’m so grateful that you shared it here, with me. Have an amazing day.

  13. Shan says:

    Simply want to say… Thank you… For all the inspiring and empowering comments…. I am going to go put Prince on and dance like I’ve never danced before… Literally and figuratively !

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Ah, Shan. Do it!! Dance, my friend!!

  14. Milica says:

    I cried too…and all his songs touch me deeply. Thank you for this text. You rock:)

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