Minnesota loses its identity. What now?

You know what could put a little extra bounce in a Minnesotan’s step? Something like this.

And this…

And this…

And this…

Even in the collective grief of Prince’s death, there is the pride that he was “one of us.” Lots of people born and raised here got out when they made the bigtime. Prince came back and became our symbol.

“In a state that can also claim Bob Dylan and Paul Westerberg as its favorite sons, Prince was the biggest icon to emerge from here musically and the biggest there will ever be,” The Current’s Jim McGuinn said. “We have a lot of pride—not only that Prince was from here, but that he came back in the last six, seven years to live in Minnesota.”

A planet full of grief for a man who put Minnesota on the map has a geocenter: 44.978 -93.27594.

For many on the globe, Prince was why Minnesota mattered at all and, therefore, why we could occasionally be more than flyover country.

The inability to define Prince helped define the Twin Cities.

As The Current’s Mary Lucia pointed out yesterday while holding our hands and handing out hugs, people moved to Minnesota because Prince represented.

Garrison Keillor takes questionsThe same is true for Garrison Keillor, whose Prairie Home Companion gave Minnesota its unofficial nickname, and who is another performer whose persona changed when he stepped on stage. He came back, too.

If Prince gave us our hipness, Keillor made it stylish to be unhip and awkward.

Prince is dead and Keillor’s tales from Lake Wobegon are in their last episodes.

We want desperately to feel special and that’s what icons do.

Who represents us now? Who puts the bounce in Minnesota’s step? Who’s left to declare to the world that Minnesota matters?

Related: How a Local Radio Station Became the World’s Prince Memorial(Daily Beast)

How Prince and critic Jon Bream learned to see eye to eye (Star Tribune)

What Prince Meant To Minnesota And The World (ThinkProgress)