Last year, Brooklyn-based entrepreneur Tonya Giddens, through her company Bklyngurl Productions threw one of the most memorable Prince events in recent memory. The Purple Paisley Brunch was attended by Prince fans from all across Gotham. Last year’s theme was very sexy and saw many of the attendees wearing pajamas and other boudoir garb. Folks were posting pics all across social media and talking (and laughing) about the event weeks after it ended.
It is with this excitement that we, once again, look forward to the latest installment in this annual series. This year, Purple Paisley Brunch-goers will be donning their best black and white outfits to complement the Parade-era inspired theme: “An Afternoon in Paris in Black and White. Like last year, Minneapolis legend Jerome Benton will be in the house as the always funny host. Benton, who was a member of The Time and The Family and co-starred in Purple Rain and Under The Cherry Moon, will be joined by the iconic Maneca Lightner, who was the beautiful model on the cover of Prince’s Madhouse era albums.
We are pleased that soulhead founder Ron Worthy was able to connect with Giddens about The Purple Paisley Brunch on her vision for this year’s event, which will be held at the Taj Lounge on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 1pm – 6pm. Minneapolis sounds brought to you by DJ Chris Rob. BUY TICKETS
Ron Worthy: This is your second year doing the Purple Paisley Brunch. Last year, your theme was a pajama party and this year is “An Afternoon in Paris in Black and White.” What made you change the theme?
Tonya Giddens: The Purple Paisley Brunch was created with the intent of changing themes every year. As you know, Prince was a visionary who always switched things up so we try and honor the different phases of his career, Last year was pajamas, this year Parisian Black and White. Next year… you have to wait and see.
RW: What is your goal for the Purple Paisley Brunch?
TG: My original vision for The PPB was to get people together to celebrate the legacy and music of The Minneapolis sound. Believe it or not, people are still grappling with the fact that Prince is no longer here in physical form. It’s a chance for people to get together and celebrate the music that he left behind – not only his music but the artists he influenced. He is sorely missed.
RW: Why a brunch? Besides Dave Chappelle’s True Hollywood story about Prince and eating his pancakes, what was the inspiration to combine breakfast with Prince?
TG: Brunch has become such a popular trend now that it seemed like the right thing to do. I honestly think that because most of us are of a certain age it’s a great opportunity to party early and get to bed early! LOL
RW: Last year’s event was the talk of the Prince community. What was the highlight in your opinion?
TG: There were so many highlights but for me the highlight was seeing my guests wearing their pajamas and really having a great time. Furry slippers, silk and lace… Yessssss! [Check out photos from last year’s event]
RW: This year, you will be featuring Maneca Lightner, the model for the amazing Madhouse records. How will she be featured? Do you plan to have an interview of some kind? Will she be hangin out with fans?
TG: This will be Maneca’s first appearance on the East Coast in almost 20 years and she is just as stunning as she was on the Madhouse album covers. She will be mingling with guests as well as signing pictures and autographs. We will also have a silent auction donating a portion of the proceeds to her non profit organization which assists those who are dealing with substance abuse disorders.
RW: Jerome Benton hosted last year and will be back this year. What can we expect from Jerome?
TG: Jerome is so loved within the purple community and beyond. If you look up “life of the party” in the dictionary, his picture would be there. Jerome’s energy is what drives the brunch and you can expect him to keep the party going. We’re pleased to have Crystal Durant (Crystal Clear) co-hosting as well as Chris Rob (@chrisrobonline) spinning the familiar tunes as well as the obscure tracks you may or may not know.
RW: Can you describe your vision for the vibe of the event? What will the flow be this year and how will it be different from last year? Will people be chilling or dancing or both?
TG: My vision for the brunch has always been to bring people together; food and music are a healer. There will be dancing, mingling, and a prize for the best dressed Parisian inspired black and white attire… so be ready!
RW: Last question- Please finish this sentence: “If the DJ does NOT play ___ I will be ______!”
TG: “If the DJ does NOT play “Rock hard in a Funky Place” or “Rebirth of the Flesh” I will be “lost in an articulated manner!”
Ron Worthy is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of soulhead.com. A passionate audiophile who has been a DJ for over 25 years, Ron studied classical music and plays 4 instruments. He loves discussing all things Prince, Hip-Hop, and Funk. When he is able, he shoots a mean game of pool, digs comedy, loves eating fried fish sandwiches, making crab cakes and drinking micro-brews from all over the World. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, daughter and cat. Check out some of his work for soulhead.