Prince to lead peace concert in Baltimore on Mother's Day after death sparks protests

Prince on Tuesday announced a peace concert in Baltimore on Mother's Day after the death in police custody of an African American man sparked sometimes violent protests. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Prince on Tuesday announced a peace concert in Baltimore on Mother's Day after the death in police custody of an African American man sparked sometimes violent protests. -- PHOTO: AFP 

NEW YORK (AFP) - Prince on Tuesday announced a peace concert in Baltimore on Mother's Day after the death in police custody of an African American man sparked sometimes violent protests.

He said Sunday's concert would take place at an arena in downtown Baltimore - in an announcement in stark contrast to the famously eccentric singer's preference in recent years for announcing shows at the last minute.

"In a spirit of healing, the event is meant to be a catalyst for pause and reflection following the outpouring of violence that has gripped Baltimore and areas throughout the US," a statement from his promoters said.

Prince encouraged fans to show symbolic solidarity by wearing grey - a reference to Freddie Gray, 25, who died on April 19 from a severe spine injury while in police custody.

The death sparked protests that sometimes turned violent in some of the most severe urban unrest in the United States since the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the police beating of African-American motorist Rodney King.

Prince earlier said he had written a song entitled Baltimore. The song has not been released but he revealed the lyrics, which also make reference to Michael Brown, an African-American whose shooting death by the police sparked protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

"Does anyone hear us pray? / 4 Michael Brown or Freddie Gray peace is more than the absence of war," run the lyrics.

Prince - whose prolific output includes the seminal 1984 album Purple Rain - earlier led a dance party inside his Paisley Park estate outside Minneapolis to mourn those killed by the police.

Prince, 56, is on what he calls a Hit And Run tour of North America, after a similar run in Europe in which he announced shows at the last minute and sometimes had more than one concert per night.