Morris Day Says Prince’s Estate Banned Him From Performing as The Time

The estate, however, insists it's "open to working proactively with Morris"

Morris Day performs onstage during An Evening Of Funk at Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre on August 01, 2021 in Mableton, Georgia.
Morris Day performs onstage during An Evening of Funk at Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre on August 01, 2021.
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Up until Prince’s untimely death in 2016, he and Morris Day shared a long musical history that began with their time together in a band called Grand Central and continued with their group The Time, which they founded in 1980. Eventually, as Prince’s solo career took off, Morris Day & The Time began opening for him on tours, leading to a bit of a rivalry between the pair that was depicted in 1984’s Purple Rain.

Though they had their ups and downs, there was always a mutual respect between Prince and Day, but now it appears things have grown more contentious between the latter and the legendary musician’s estate. According to a new Instagram post, Day claims that Prince’s estate has barred him from performing as The Time.

“I’ve given 40 years of my life building up a name and legacy that Prince and I came up with,” he wrote. “A name that while he was alive, he had no problem with me using. I literally put my blood, sweat, and tears into bringing value to that name. In fact, he booked me on several tours, and many jam packed nights at Paisley Park, under the name Morris Day & The Time. Not once ever saying to me that I couldn’t use that name configuration.”

“However, now that Prince is no longer with us – suddenly, the people who control his multi million dollar estate, want to rewrite history by taking my name away from me, thus impacting how i feed my family,” he continued. “So as of now, per the Prince Estate, I can no longer use Morris Day & The Time in any capacity.”

The Prince estate, however, begs to differ. “Given Prince’s longstanding history with Morris Day and what the Estate thought were amicable discussions, The Prince Estate was surprised and disappointed to see his recent post,” they said in a statement to Variety. “The Estate is open to working proactively with Morris to resolve this matter. However, the information that he shared is not entirely accurate.”

But as Variety explains, the publication got its hands on a letter from an attorney representing the estate addressed to Day’s attorney Richard Jefferson dated Dec. 13, 2021. The letter does in fact state that Day “has no right to use or register [the name] THE TIME in any form” and cites a 1982 contract in which Day “acknowledged that PRN Music Corporation, an entity which, at the time, was wholly owned by Prince, is the ‘sole and exclusive owner of all rights in and to’ THE TIME.”

“Rather than file a petition to cancel, the Estate would prefer to discuss this matter with you and resolve it through an agreement that recognizes the Estates rights in the trademark THE TIME and licenses Mr. Day to use the trademark MORRIS DAY AND THE TIME with the services identified in the existing trademark registration and goods related to such services, such as musical sound recordings and musical video recordings,” the letter reads.

Here’s hoping the two sides can reach some sort of agreement.

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