The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Prince wanted Obama to ban birthdays and Christmas, according to his buddy Van Jones

Prince performs during halftime of the Super Bowl XLI football game in Miami in 2007. (Chris O’Meara/Associated Press)

Prince the Grinch? Not quite.

The 57-year-old music icon once mused to his friend, political activist Van Jones, that President Obama should ban birthdays and Christmas.

“Why doesn’t Obama just outlaw birthdays?” Jones, who once worked in the Obama administration, recalled Prince asking. “He said, ‘I was hoping that Obama, as soon as he was elected, would get up and announce there’d be no more Christmas presents and no more birthdays — we’ve got too much to do.’”

Prince, who performed a private concert for the Obamas at the White House last summer, became a Jehovah’s Witness in 2001 and, according to the religion’s official website, members don’t celebrate birthdays “because we believe that such celebrations displease God.”

Jones, a longtime friend of Prince’s who advised the artist on advocacy, said that he laughed off the suggestion that the administration wouldn’t officially censor personal celebrations.

“Yeah,” said Jones at the time, “I don’t know if that would go over too well.”