Now I’ve figured out why Ebony put Prince on the cover of its July issue.
The editors must have known about Prince receiving the BET Lifetime Achievement Award on June 27. Or maybe they were merely thrilled that, after months of requesting, he agreed to a photo shoot and interview. Or maybe he wanted the exposure because he’s going to drop a new album soon.
Talk show host Tavis Smiley brokered the photo shoot and he was supposed to conduct the interview for Ebony. But – surprise – Prince commenced a dialog with the magazine’s senior photo editor and acting editor in chief before Smiley joined the conversation.
The Ebony crew spent 12 hours in Prince’s company at Paisley Park in Chanhassen. They  talked a lot about God, had a four-course vegan dinner and witnessed an impromptu performance by Prince, his bassist pal Larry Graham, backup singers Shelby, Elisa and Liv as well as Bria Valente, whom Prince introduced as his girlfriend.
Prince did submit to a formal interview, though it appears to be via e-mail because his answers are written with Prince spellings.
Here is an excerpt:
Ebony: Why did you decide to stay in Minneapolis?
Prince: Mpls is home – it’s healthy, quiet lifestyle. The fast bachelor life can get 2 u sometimes. We all need 2 recharge r batteries every now and then.
Ebony: Regarding those who influenced you, many consider that Jimi Hendrix was one of your greatest influences. Your thoughts on that? Little Richard? Santana?
Prince: Actually, 1st influence was Ike Turner. It would b fun 2 play Little Richard in a movie. “U’ll ain’t never gave me nothin’!”

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