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Prince - The Holy River

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Prince's official music video for 'The Holy River,' off of "Emancipation"
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About the track:
The video stars Prince, Mayte in a dual role as woman and angel, and members of Prince’s live band in 1997: guitarist Kat Dyson, bassist Rhonda Smith, drummer Kirk Johnson, and keyboardist Morris Hayes. Notably, “The Holy River” depicts Prince using a mirror to write the word “SLAVE” on his own cheek — a common occurrence in the mid-1990s and a visual symbol of his ongoing dispute for creative and professional freedom, which he celebrated with the release of his first post-Warner Bros. triple album, Emancipation.

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“The Holy River” was the second single from Emancipation to be released in the U.K. and Japan on January 13, 1997, two months after the album was released (and the same day the single for “Somebody’s Somebody” was released in the United States). Later that same year, a promotional cassette single of “The Holy River” was made available in the U.S. exclusively through Borders bookstores, and the cassette featured artwork from the video that was created for the song.

Scenes for “The Holy River” were shot at Paisley Park and at Northrop Auditorium, a theater on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. At the time the video was filmed Prince hadn’t yet performed at the theater, but he would later take the stage there to guest with Carlos Santana in 1999 and to cap off his first annual Celebration festival in the summer of 2000.

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