Nicole Gudmundson's parents weren't too keen when her older brother Dean introduced the elementary school-aged girl to Prince.
The Minneapolis musician was big on showing a lot of sweaty skin. His band was rumored to include lesbians. He was like the male Madonna. Purple pushed the envelope just like the Material Girl.
"I remember my brother saying, 'Hey Nikki, I want you to hear the future of music, a future music icon,'" says Gudmundson. "He was pretty risque and my parents weren't too happy about that."
As the now-44-year-old Gudmundson recalls, this was about the time of Prince's seminal 1999 album.
Gudmundson's dad died when she was young. Two years ago, prostrate cancer claimed Dean.
"Prince was the father in my life after my father passed away," she says. "He was my brother after Dean was gone. He was almost like a part of my family. I know that sounds strange. But his music brought me somewhere. He had the ability to take me places with his artistry. He brought me healing. That's magic."
In the numbness overtaking her in the wake of Prince's April "transcendence," Gudmundson jumped online. She sought healing through connection with other mourning fans.
"I started to look at some of these Prince groups," she says, "and a lot of them there was this focus on whether he was murdered, or they were angry, or fighting with each other about who has the most Prince music. A lot of it was really negative and I wasn't getting any healing from it."
Out of Gudmundson's search for solace came ThE RaiNboW ChildreN.
The group has rules. Love comes first. If you want to speculate about what killed Prince, or you can't be supportive when online chats involve members' life struggles, it isn't for you.
"The fact was he was a private man and he shared his whole life with us that was his music," Gudmundson explains. "And for his family, his purple army to concentrate on how he left this world for a better one is not what he would've wanted.
"He would've wanted us to celebrate life. He was about acceptance. Do your thing and be proud of it. The Rainbow Children, the name, was chosen because of the lyrics 'the sun rises just like the rainbow children.' Yes, our group is about Prince, but it's about each other. That's what he taught us and we either can stay in the shade or feel the sun."
Protecting His Purple Majesty's legacy recently entailed confrontation. When plans to build a wall around Paisley Park became public earlier this month, Gudmundson and Rainbow Children co-founder Kim Huston mobilized their forces. An online petition fast attracted 2,500 signatures. Meanwhile, fans inundated Chanhassen City Hall with emails and phone calls.
Earlier this week, the Chanhassen City Council voted to table the controversial plan.
"Prince made a positive impact on so many people's lives and touched so many people," says Gudmundson. "We were blessed to be of the same generation he was and all I want is for people to keep positive about what he and his name meant and to celebrate the gift he left us, which was his music.
"Positivity and love for all of us. That, I believe, is what he would have wanted."