PHOTOS/VIDEO | Sheila E. unites with Mpls. mayor, local nonprofit to continue Prince’s philanthropic efforts

Sheila E. at Sabathani Community Center, Friday, September 23.
Sheila E. at Sabathani Community Center, Friday, September 23. (Chris Juhn/MSR News)

Percussionist, singer/songwriter and longtime Prince protégé and musical collaborator, Sheila E., officially announced today her plans for a concert at Minnesota Orchestra Hall to honor Prince and his charitable contributions to the community.

The concert entitled “Purple Philanthropy Sheila E. Benefit Concert” scheduled for October 23, will kick off a season of fundraising to carry on the late artist’s tradition of supporting organizations that aided the creative development of youth, according to the press release. All proceeds from the concert will be donated to a fund administered by Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project. Organizations that Prince supported in the past will be able to apply for grants through the fund.

Introduced by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, the soft-spoken Sheila E. took to the podium donning a white fedora. She detailed the goal of the concert, which will also feature her father, Latin jazz percussionist Pete Escovedo. She also elaborated on Prince’s penchant for giving quietly, behind the scenes.

“Prince loved helping people without saying anything,” she said. “He never told anyone or called the press… He just did it quietly. And we wanted to continue his legacy.” She also said that Minnesota felt like a “second home” to her. Due to a scheduling conflict, she said she was unable to participate in the October 13 tribute concert at Xcel Energy Center planned by the estate.

(Below, video of Mpls. Mayor Betsy Hodges and Sheila E. at the press conference)

Sheila E. was joined by Andre Fischer of the Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project, who spoke about his organization and introduced the young participants who surrounded the podium. Some of the young musicians will perform at the concert, along with members of the Prince’s former band, the New Power Generation (NPG), and surprise guests to be announced at a later date.

Sheila E.
Sheila E. and young musicians from the Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project (Chris Juhn/MSR News)

The location of the concert’s announcement at Sabathani Community Center underscored the initiative’s focus on honoring Prince’s hometown roots and community organizations dear to his heart. Sabathani was once Bryant Junior High, where Prince attended school. He continued to support the center throughout the years, and he is featured, along with other notable figures, on the walls of the center’s Community Room for accomplishments in music and sports (he played on the Bryant basketball team).

Sabathani’s Executive Director Cindy Booker explained to the MSR that people displayed on the walls are referred to as either “Sabathani raised” — meaning they grew up in the neighborhood — or “Sabathani angels” because they supported the center. Prince was both. The community center drew hundreds to celebrate his legacy and memory with a block party shortly after the artist’s passing.

Tickets for the benefit concert go on sale Monday, September 26 at 10 am. Purchase tickets at the Minnesota Orchestra Hall at 1111 Nicollet Mall in Mpls., or online at www.minnesotaorchestra.org.
See more photos from Chris Juhn below: