What do Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Prince, West African cocoa producers and Dylan Lauren, daughter of American fashion designer Ralph Lauren, have in common?
After 21 nights of sold-out shows in London, sold-out, on-their-feet, top-of-the-voice-singing crowds recently welcomed Prince to New York City?s Madison Square Garden in his first return to the U.S. east coast since 2004. The seven-time Grammy Award-winner returned with more than the genius of his songs and the electricity of his rendition of them.
He came back with candy.
In partnership with Lauren, founder and CEO of the candy emporium Dylan?s Candy Bar, Prince produced a commemorative chocolate bar to mark both his residency in New York and the kick-off at MSG of his highly anticipated ?Welcome 2 America? concert tour in association with Live Nation Inc. The chocolate bar is made from Dylan?s signature Belgian milk chocolate, whose key ingredient, cocoa, comes from West Africa, the world?s largest supplier with 70 percent of global cultivation.
The wrapper of the limited edition chocolate bar bears a likeness of Prince, along with the Dylan?s Candy Bar logo and the words ?Prince NYC 2010.? Fans are torn between saving the candy in its wrapper for posterity and eating the candy but saving the wrapper.
The chocolate bar went on sale for $5 in December simultaneously at Madison Square Garden concert concession stands and at Dylan?s Candy Bar flagship store in New York City. It is available only at Prince concerts in the United States and at Dylan?s Candy Bar New York City, East Hampton (N.Y.), Garden City (N.Y.), Orlando (Fla.) and Houston (Texas) stores.
?We have been fortunate to pioneer artistic partnerships with many legends. To have Prince, the purple majesty himself, approach us with his signature graphics to be developed on a commemorative chocolate bar was a dream cone true,? Lauren said.
True to his long-standing, quiet humanitarianism, Prince, whose net worth is estimated at $250 million, will donate proceeds from the sale of his chocolate bar to the Harlem Children?s Zone, a social service and educational non-profit located in the heart of the cultural Mecca of Black America. Proceeds from the auction of the solid gold Fender? Custom Stratocaster? guitar Prince plays every night of the tour will also go to the Harlem Children?s Zone.
In another sign of community love, Prince engaged The Terrie Williams Agency, named after the New York City public relations and marketing firm?s founder, Terrie Williams, to ensure the presence of African-American media at his concerts. Aided by Cheryl Duncan, the agency?s senior consultant, Williams delivered Prince?s personal greetings and a chocolate bar to each representative of the Black media attending the Jan. 18 show, this writer included.?
?We look forward to working with one of the most talented and prolific artists on the planet for the past thirty years and to sharing more of the philosophical passions and philanthropic efforts of the very powerful life force that is Prince,? Williams said.
?Tickets are now on sale for a newly added ?Welcome 2 America? show on Feb. 7 at Madison Square Garden.