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Jeannine Jansegers

I did not like Prince. If you ask me about my first "memories" of Prince, that's it. I did not like him because I loved Michael Jackson. My brother would tease me that Prince was way better than Michael, which would lead to pretty emotional outbursts (from my side). But the heart works in mysterious ways. I remember exactly when I fell in love with the man and his music : it was 1984 and I was watching the I would die 4 U video on tv. He looked into my eyes (or I looked into his, this I don't remember exactly) and I was lost. Prince came, stayed and I was convinced he would never leave.

Jeannine Jansegers at Paisley Park, 2017.

It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly how Prince "transformed" my life. All I can say is that he was a huge part of my existence here on earth for over 30 years, and I don't know what my life would have looked like without him. He influenced and inspired me probably in more ways than I actually realize: when I wrote, when I danced, the music I listened to and the music I played, the clothes I wore (and clothes I made), the way I learned/speak English… He undoubtedly made me become more adventurous. His music and presence comforted me when I lost some of the people I loved most in this world.

I loved this man, for everything he was (and often for those things I was/am not.) I loved him for his free spirit, his work ethic, his sense of humour, his creativity that crossed borders, his anything-is-possible attitude, his wit, for trying to make his dreams come true, his compassion, his belief in himself, his energy, his style, his looks... I learned so many things listening to him and watching him. He broadened my horizon. He helped shape my world.

I do know my life changed after his death. The realization of having to live in a world without Prince left me devastated. I couldn't bear to hear his voice, I could not cope with the idea of never seeing him in person again. There were tons of fond memories in my head, but none I wished to bring to the surface because even the beautiful ones hurt. The magic he had brought into my life was gone.

When he died I stopped dancing, although dance has always been hugely important in my life. For as long as I can remember I have also been a (day)dreamer. Prince's sudden death changed all that: I stopped dreaming.

There was one positive change: I realized that the only person I would ever have been really intimidated by was gone. That realisation has made me more confident. For the first time in my life, I can actually call myself, to use his own words, "cool".

A few months ago I started dancing again. Maybe one day I'll start dreaming again, too.

Jeannine Jansegers lives in Bornem, Belgium. She is a linguist with a passion for Prince, books and travelling. She uses her voice to make a difference in people's lives by recording audiobooks for blind people and people with reading disorders.

Jeannine's story in the exhibition installation.

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