Citing his “indelible mark on Minnesota and American culture,” Minnesota’s Congressional delegation introduced a resolution on Capitol Hill on Oct. 25 to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Prince.
The medal is one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, and if awarded to Prince, who died at the age of 57 on April 21, 2016, at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota, he would join past recipients of the honor, including the Wright Brothers, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, George Washington, the Dalai Lama, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Navajo Code Talkers.
“The world is a whole lot cooler because Prince was in it,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar in a statement.
Leading the resolution for the artist to receive the Congressional award are Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat who represents Minneapolis in the House, and one of the first Muslim women to enter Congress, who said Prince showed her “it was OK to be a short, black kid from Minneapolis and still change the world.”
Winning seven Grammy awards, six American Music Awards, a Golden Globe and an Oscar for scoring the 1984 movie Purple Rain, Prince also released hit after hit, including “Little Red Corvette,” “Kiss,” “Purple Rain,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “When Doves Cry,” throughout his nearly 40-year career.
“I remember when I first came to America being captivated by Prince’s music and impact on the culture,” said Omar. “He not only changed the arc of music history, he put Minneapolis on the map.”
Congressional Gold Medals require the support of at least two-thirds of the members of both the Senate and House of Representatives before they are signed into law by the president. If the gold medal is approved for Prince, the bill requests that it be given to the Smithsonian Institution, which would put it on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture or on loan.
“He touched our hearts, opened our minds, and made us want to dance,” said Klobuchar. “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.”