Prince Edd Rogers Nelson vs the Church Lock-In

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Be honest: Who among you would volunteer to be locked in a building for 15 hours with two dozen Kool-Aid-fueled preteens?

Once again, it’s up to me to take one for the team.

Last Friday was my church’s annual Hallelujah Night lock-in. Think of it as a safe and uplifting alternative to the usual Halloween debauchery. This marked my third year participating in the event and since I’m sure y’all are tired of me talking about how great Kendrick Lamar’s new album is, allow me to break from the norm and share the insanity of last weekend. I’m sure it knocked a year or two off my life.

One of the biggest draws of the event is the community costume contest, in which we ask people in the neighborhood to stop by for a free dinner and a chance at prizes for winning costumes. Every year, I reiterate NO SCARY COSTUMES but every year we get at least one ugly vampire, witch or a Nicki Minaj. *shudder*

Ah, but who cares about them. Every year I’m known for going all out on my costumes. Peep the past ones:

This year, the kids were so excited about my costume that one of them introduced me to the crowd before I made my entrance. Feast your eyes:

How did the adults in the crowd react?

“Who is you? Rick James?”

“You look like a black Louie Da Four-teeth.”

“You some kinda rock star or something?”

But the kids had my back: “IT’S PRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

So the 11-year-olds knew I was Prince, but the people who are the same age as Morris Day were confused. We need to do better.

Well, the night progressed with dinner, a roundtable on image issues (i.e., why our race is still ridiculously obsessed with skin color) and a candlelight vigil. Afterward it was time for games and snacks.

Oh lord, the snacks. Snacks for kids is like alcohol for adults. They become raging psychopaths. One boy was running around trying to Brogue Kick kids like Sheamus from WWE while I swear some of the kids were trying to pull the keys out of the piano. My tears were like Purple Rain.

Once the kids calmed down, I engaged in some of the most bizarre conversations I’d had all year. The kids tried to convince me that 2 Chainz was “a great rapper” and that my Cousin Chris Brown was a magnificent singer. One girl said, “Chris Brown has a beautiful voice,” like some old woman reminiscing about Lutha singing for the prince of Zamunda. Playa please. I almost had another prayer vigil on the spot.

We also got into a discussion about my upcoming birthday. The kids asked what I wanted, and, as always, I kept it real – I want a 95-inch TV for my living room. They told me to just buy it. First, why would I buy my own gift? Second, why can’t THEY buy it for me? Geez, 12-year-olds are soooo selfish. Anyway, I told them that my check would bounce like Kris Kross if I tried to buy a TV. Their solution? Put it on layaway. These kids should be solving the national debt crisis.

At some point, a spontaneous karaoke session broke out (I was too busy fussing about Cousin Chris to notice) and suddenly everyone started chanting, PRINCE! PRINCE! PRINCE! Well, I had to give the people what they wanted – the WORST version of “When Doves Cry” ever performed. I could barely remember the words (give me a break, it was like 1 a.m. at this point) but the kids were screaming, “fainting,” and afterward I had to sign about 15 fake autographs.

Soon after, we threw on a DVD of The Avengers and I doubt the kids made it through the first 20 minutes. I stayed up for the rest of the night while kids and other adults slept. If a fly on the wall saw “the black Louie Da Four-teeth” staring at a bunch of kids all night, it would probably be freaked out. But I didn’t mind. By the way, kids pass a LOT of gas while they sleep.

I guess it was an OK night after all, even though I’m still struggling from my annual post-lock-in head cold. Today I have a fever and no voice. Lovely. But the kids seemed to enjoy themselves, at least. All in a night’s work for Rick James.

Oh, and three days later, as I was flipping through my notes at work, look what I found scribbled in my notebook:

Sigh, kids. What can you do with them?



  1. I love this column!!!! I’m sure that your Kool-Aid-addicted, gassy kids love you. You are an excellent mentor.

  2. Thanks, Diane. I love their gassy butts too.

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