Shonda Rhimes Recalls Dancing With Prince at the White House

The late musician performed alongside Stevie Wonder.

ByCandice Williams
May 11, 2016, 2:06 PM
PHOTO: Shonda Rhimes attends the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, April 30, 2016, in Washington.
Shonda Rhimes attends the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, April 30, 2016, in Washington.
Kris Connor/FilmMagic

— -- "Grey’s Anatomy" and "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes said she will never forget dancing with Prince last year when he performed at the White House.

Rhimes, who paid tribute to the music legend by including his music in last week’s episodes of both "Grey's" and "Scandal," recalled the intimate evening while speaking with Rolling Stone. The party was a small one, she explained, and Prince had been tasked with providing the entertainment.

However, things were turned up a notch when Stevie Wonder announced that he wanted to play, too.

"Stevie sits down at the piano and starts playing Stevie Wonder music, with Prince basically backing him up," she said. "And there was this great moment when our eyes met, and he mouthed, 'Oh my God, can you believe this is happening?' There he is, playing under this portrait of George Washington and he's backing Stevie Wonder up. It was the last time I saw him."

A huge fan of the performer, Rhimes explained why she needed to play Prince songs on her ABC series.

"Yes, I'd met him, gone to concerts, seen him play at the White House, but this was really intense for me, like I'd spent too many hours with this person in my head,” she said. “So using him in the show was an imperative. I've only ever used '70s music in 'Scandal.' He sort of bordered on '70s and '80s, but I felt like, I kind of didn't care. I wanted to use it anyway."

Rhimes featured Prince music for the first time in 2014 on "Scandal," after the Paisley Park icon revealed he was a fan of the show and personally sent her a CD to use.

"He said he wanted to come by and see me. I was freaked out and very excited. I kept waiting to find the perfect moment, and we ended up using 'Controversy',” she said. “I remember Alex [Patsavas], our music supervisor, telling me that was the first time in 20 years that she remembered ever being able to clear a Prince song. From then on, he would send pictures of himself and say stuff like he was a 'gladiator in a suit.'"

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