I have always loved Prince. Though I have to admit I haven’t listened to most of what he recorded after the 80s. But that run of albums– Dirty Mind, Controversy, 1999, Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, Parade (oh Kiss – my fav song of all time), and Sign o’ the Times. Listening to it all again – 30 years later – I am blown away.
My connection to Prince has always been first and foremost about the music and his remarkable range. Though as a white queer kid from the OC who was into hard funk, no doubt there was more going on.
Putting on my anthropologist hat, I realize that Prince’s shifting performances of race, gender and sexuality resonated both with my own formative identities and subsequent theoretical perspectives. The same is true of Bowie on the gender and sexuality front. As a friend from junior high reminded me – chatting on Facebook while I was in shock in São Paulo after learning of Bowie’s death – some artists give those of who feel different for whatever reason a sense of dignity and connectedness.
From my perspective, no one in the past 50 years did this more than Prince. And for that I am forever grateful and inspired to keep up the fight.