Nearly a decade before he would rise to global stardom, Prince was already a seasoned interview subject. In an unearthed clip from Minneapolis TV station WCCO, a then-11-year-old Prince Rogers Nelson hops on camera to support teachers during a strike.
According to CNN, staffers at the station were going through their archives in search of clips from a local teacher strike in April 1970 to illustrate a piece about a recent teacher walk-out when they spotted what looked like a familiar face on the tape. The interviewer asks the young man whether the majority of the kids at the protest were supporting their teachers.
“Yup,” said the unidentified confident youngster — dressed in a blue jacket and dark wool hat — they interviewed with a mischievous grin that is instantly recognizable to any Prince fan. “I think they should get a better education too cause, um, and I think they should get some more money cause they work, they be working extra hours for us and all that stuff.”
CNN reported that the staff felt pretty certain the unidentified-on-screen youngster was Prince, but the reporter never asked him to say his name in the clip. To solve the mystery they reached out to the singer’s old friend and schoolmate, Terrance Jackson, who first met Prince in kindergarten and played with the Purple One in his first band, Grand Central.
The network reported that when anchor Jeff Wagner shared the footage with Jackson, he “laughed in glee,” and when he heard Prince speak he was “speechless and teary.” “Wow, that was him,” Jackson said after after a pause before confirming that it was, indeed, Prince Rogers Nelson. “I’m totally blown away.” Prince died in 2016 of an accidental fentanyl overdose.
Watch a video describing how the station uncovered the story behind the video here.