The Legend Of Prince’s Rainbow Roller Skates

A story of the elusive star and his most magnificent wheels.

Allow me to set the scene: It’s Valentine’s Day weekend, 2005, and we’re in a skating rink somewhere outside LA. It’s 1 a.m. or so, which is well after the rink’s normal hours of operation, but someone has arranged ahead for the place to stay open late. There aren’t more than a dozen people around–a young employee idly watching a pizza rotate under a heat lamp, maybe another in the back taking a nap, and a few skaters, one of whom is Questlove, the drummer for The Roots, who’s there with his wife. They circle the rink for about an hour in their rented skates, wondering if the guest of honor–the man who invited them here–will ever show up. And then he does.


Prince, all of five feet two inches–maybe a little more, depending on the shoes he was wearing–walks into the skating rink with his wife and a few others. He’s clutching an unadorned black briefcase, and though he’s among friends, he seems hesitant to open it. It reminds Questlove of Pulp Fiction. Curious. Then Prince makes an odd request. He asks Questlove to leave his cell phone at coat check. What is going on here? I’ll let Questlove tell the rest:

i sarcastically put the phone in coat check and wonder what the deal is…..i mean this man wears high heels and he dont want me to record him in skates? as if i wanted that footage?—

then he opens the briefcase…..

pulls out the most unique skates i ever seen in my life. they were clear skates that not only lights up but when you skate the friction of the wheels to the ground causes sparks to come into your trail….

sorta like the billie jean video for the skating generation.

he did a lap around the rink leaving a rainbow trail of light and sparks in his trail. and the nigga could skate!!!!!

They all must’ve skated some more, then, and caught up and swapped stories and told jokes. Maybe they ate some of that pizza. Eddie Murphy had shown up at some point, so there were probably some good laughs. But at some point, Prince would have gotten tired and his guests would have adjourned. He would have carefully packed those magnificent roller skates back in their case, grabbed its handle tight, and hurried off into the still, purple night.

Read the original tale on Questlove’s blog.