A new Prince documentary is set to premiere during one of the most tumultuous times in Minnesota history. The timely release of the film “Mr. Nelson On the Northside,” aims to educate viewers about the violent demonstrations in North Minneapolis stemming from racial tensions in the summer of 1967.
This documentary also offers hope for the future and the cohesive community that can arise from the city’s ashes.
Prince Rogers Nelson was one of the greatest musicians of all time, a generous but private philanthropist, and someone who stayed true to his Minnesota roots and was loyal to his home state until his passing on April 21, 2016.
Now five years after his death, this documentary, which started filming in 2018, seeks to provide insight into Prince’s childhood with a focus on a North Minneapolis community center called The Way that was a direct response to the deep civil unrest in the 1960s.
The film also tells the story of how Spike Moss, a Golden Gloves boxer-turned community activist, co-founded The Way, which became a gathering place for disadvantaged Black youth, gave them a space to turn their anger into artistic expression, and nurtured Prince’s adolescent musical talent.
The Way closed in the mid-’80s, but Moss hopes to launch “The New Way” and the film’s online marketing partner Environmenta.Li will be donating a large portion of its share of ticketing revenues to Minneapolis charities chosen by Moss: Stairstep Foundation and Hopewell Music Cooperative North.
This “unofficial” documentary is not authorized by the Estate of Prince and the producers were not able to license Prince’s music. Instead, the film features exclusive interviews that divulge little-known facts about Prince’s musical development, including how he needed to be pushed to develop his incredible stage persona, as well as never-before-told stories from Prince’s friends
and musical collaborators such as legendary vocalist Chaka Khan; Public Enemy’s Chuck D; esteemed guitarist Orianthi; the original members of the band The Family who played alongside Prince at The Way in the mid-1970s; and local icons and leaders like Walter “Q Bear” Banks and Sen. Bobbie Joe Champion.
While telling unheard stories about Prince’s childhood is a treat for his fans, it is also an important story for Minneapolis and a community that has been hurting amidst the murder of George Floyd, the trial of Derek Chauvin, and the recent murder of Daunte Wright.
A live, virtual pre-launch event and panel discussion will take place on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 7 pm CST, with many celebrity collaborators and community leaders in remembrance of Prince’s life and to honor his beloved community of North Minneapolis.
The documentary, “Mr. Nelson On the Northside,” will have its world premiere with an online live screening on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at 2 pm CST.
More information is available on the film’s website: www.onthenorthside.com.
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