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Spotlight on Prince

Spotlight on Prince

by Maya Khamala November 07, 2017

Last fortnight, in my intro blog post, I mentioned that I would at times be profiling the lives of sexy gender revolutionaries. Since I also mentioned my lifelong infatuation with Prince, and since there’s no one else I’ve been more inspired by as an artist, and as a human, I figure he’s a good place to start.

 

The Music

If you know anything about Prince, you know Purple Rain, Little Red Corvette, or any of about a dozen other 80s funkadelic hits. What many don’t know is that this guy was prolific. His ever-expansive creative drive may or may not be ultimately what sent him to an early grave, but it sure as hell saw to it that his life was rich and full while he was around. He released 40 albums in a 38-year time span, and had a secret vault (you heard me) where another 80 or so albums’ worth of never-released music was discovered upon his death. It may take a die-hard fan to tell you that he was good for way more/deeper/bigger genius than the mainstream generally promoted (i.e. masterpiece piano, soul, and jazz albums). He could play 50+ instruments (so, any instrument) and voice powers ranged from his signature falsetto to lesser known throaty ballads and even rap. The versatility of his music could only have come from a man spinning versatile magic.

Here I’ll invoke a few telling lines in Prince’s We Can Funk, circa 1990, off his album Graffiti Bridge:

“Listen, I said I will be your little baby
Yeah, I can be your big strong man
I can be your girl or boy, I can be your toy
Alright, let's dance.”

That about sums it up for me.
Fun fact: both of Prince’s ex-wives still love him.

 

The Man

Standing not-so-tall at 5’2, some might say Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson) was an over-achiever in the Napoleonic sense. Small man, big moves. He was born poor and had a lot to lose, yet always seemed to recognize what was at stake should he betray himself.

Prince made it okay to simultaneously embody the following identities: cis, hetero man; black man; tiny man; alpha male; slut; feminist; husband; sexual renegade—to name a few. There’s not enough time in this life to get into all the ways he was. But one thing’s for sure: in both his music and his life, he broke the rules—even when people said it would not be lucrative to do so,and that he might sacrifice popularity, which was sometimes true.

 

The Clothes

Prince was famous for his large collection of high heel boots. They were an extension of his body, lending him a few extra inches, but more importantly, they were an extension of his unique creative style. Clothing-wise, he ravished audiences around the world with an astonishingly wide range of get-ups, from skin-tight, to revealing, to flamboyantly colourful—at times presenting as very “feminine,” at times willfully androgynous, and at times unclassifiably daring. He also made a number of unforgettable public appearances in little more than skimpy underwear; indeed, several of his album covers show off his exposed body, body hair, and even exposed pubic hair as he owns his shit in little more than a thong. Although much of what I’m referring to went down in the 80s and 90s, it’s still considered pretty daring for a man to present in such a way in 2017.

 

Prince Painted Portrait; thierry ehrmann

Photo Credit; Thierry Ehrmann

Although he later started covering up more as he evolved as an artist and a human, the one constant that I find truly mind-blowing is how, through it all, he remained a) exceedingly confident, b) hot and manly, c) very popular with the ladies.

 

Secure Manhood

Just as he pissed off many a record company for trying to box him in or weigh him down with labels, he also bit his thumb at society’s gender and sexuality conventions. It’s clear from his actions, his wardrobe choices, as well as his daring lyrics that Prince embodied a manhood so secure that many were convinced he was gay, or at least bi, but he never bothered to correct them; manhood so secure it could be swaddled in lace and spandex and still be hetero hot.

Here’s to hoping the funky one’s having a good after party.

Moral of the story? Don’t betray who you are, ever, and don’t think that just because you’re a man, you can’t get really colourful, creative, and skimpy with your attire if you feel like pushing the envelope—or the package, as it were.J

 

Maya Khamala

Need writing or editing services? Contact me at maya@khamalacopy.com, or find out more at www.khamalacopy.com




Maya Khamala
Maya Khamala

Author

I’m a Montreal-based freelance writer: journalist, poet, storyteller, erotica-writer, blogger, copywriter, and lover of clear communication. Words are my favourite thing in the universe. Nothing gets me hotter than the right choice of words. Nothing. I did my BA and MA in Creative Writing and English Lit at Concordia University. I was a full-time community organizer at Montreal's Centre for Gender Advocacy for 6 years, and did a lot of popular education and solidarity work around violence against Native communities, reproductive and sexual health, sexual assault awareness, intersections of race and gender, and even co-founded a Men and Feminism collective while there. What else? I’m a lover of men and give a lot of thought to what makes one (a man). Need writing or editing services? Contact me at maya@khamalacopy.com, or find out more at www.khamalacopy.com



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