The late Prince’s two ex-wives played host to a somber, invite-only memorial in Los Angeles on Wednesday that featured his music, a reading from Kahlil Gibran and numerous celebrity moments.
Manuela Testolini and Mayte Garcia required guests to be vetted before they were told the location of the ultraprivate “Celebration of Life” at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles, according to reports from Entertainment Tonight, Billboard and TMZ.
The service opened with Prince’s “Sometimes it Snows in April.” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, gave the opening remarks. Testolini and Garcia spoke, as did talk-show host Tavis Smiley and Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Prince protégé Esperanza Spalding performed. Reports said that Mavis Staples attended and that Janelle Monáe performed as well.
Film director Spike Lee and musician/producer Nile Rodgers made comments as well.
On Thursday, @nilerodgers tweeted: “The take away from last night’s service: “The best way to honor #Prince is to be creative.”
Hours before the event, Lee posted on Instagram a photo of purple Kobe Nikes and a purple (not raspberry) beret. According to reports, Lee dressed in purple from head to toe.
Michael Bernard Beckwith presided at the service. A self-described “nonaligned trans-religious progressive,” he is the founder and spiritual director of the Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, Calif.
Lee also announced plans for another memorial in Brooklyn on June 4 — three days before what would have been Prince’s 58th birthday.
The director wrote on Instagram Thursday: “Purple Party People We Will Gather Together” in “Da Republic of Brooklyn” to “Celebrate a Life.”
On the night Prince died, some 5,000 fans gathered outside Lee’s headquarters to sing and dance in the street. Lee said more details about the next celebration would be forthcoming, “Start Working On Ya Purple Costumes For Dis JUMP off Cuz’ It’s Goin’ Down.”