Previously unknown footage of a preteen Prince surfaces in Minneapolis

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Minneapolis is abuzz after local news station WCCO uncovered footage of an 11-year-old Prince answering a question posed by a TV reporter about a possible teachers’ strike at schools, including Lincoln Junior High, where Prince went. The filmed footage had remained buried in the station’s archives since 1970, when the artist born Prince Rogers Nelson was learning to play music and stardom was far away.

The discovery was made by Matt Liddy, a WCCO production manager who’s also a music fan. Researching the archives for a report on a March teachers’ strike in Minneapolis, Liddy was scrolling through footage of the station covering a 1970 strike when he came upon a kid wearing a knit cap that covered a short afro. The boy looked strikingly like Prince, but he wasn’t identified in the clip.

“I immediately just went out to the newsroom and started showing people and saying, ‘I’m not gonna tell you who I think this is, but who do you think this is?’ And every single person [said] ‘Prince,’” Liddy said, as quoted in WCCO’s news story Monday on the discovery.

Joe Berglove, a photojournalist at the station, and anchor-reporter Jeff Wagner began researching the possibility by reaching out to area Prince experts. In the footage, another boy interviewed identifies himself as Ronnie Kitchen, who was known to be a classmate of Prince’s. They made progress after contacting Prince historian Kristen Zschomler, who reached out to the late artist’s childhood friends and family members.

One of them, Terrace Jackson, met Prince during kindergarten in northern Minneapolis, he told WCCO. Jackson played in Prince’s first teenage band, Grand Central. Seeing the clip for the first time, Jackson recognized Kitchen. Then, referring to Prince by an early nickname, Jackson seemed incredulous as his childhood friend answered the reporter’s question.

“That is Prince. Standing right there with the hat on, right? That’s Skipper! Oh, my God!” Jackson said, adding that Prince “was already playing guitar and keys by then, phenomenally.”

Looking at the brief interview, the boy looks exactly like Prince, who died in 2016 at age 57. As teachers picket behind him, the young boy responds to the reporter’s question with support for the striking educators.

He’s about as articulate as any 11-year-old: “I think they should get a better education too cause, um, and I think they should get some more money cause they work, they be working extra hours for us and all that stuff.”

Or, as he more clearly stated a decade later of his ethic, “Let’s work until the morning comes.”

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