Prince

Apr. 22nd, 2016 08:40 am
talkswithwind: (zzmsp)
[personal profile] talkswithwind
Prince has never been explicitly my jam. Not quite my style, not quite my themes, not quite... it

And yet.

I am a child of the Twin Cities. Prince was the local musical super-star, and he stayed even after he made bank.. Importantly, his rise coincided with the time I started paying attention to mass-market music, so he has always been there as far as the background radiation of music in my life is concerned.

Bowie's music wasn't that, and this is probably why Prince's death has hit me so much harder.

My High School was the blackest school in the state. I don't know the demographics of my Jr. High, but it might have been majority-minority as well. I bring this up because:
My HS was obsessed with rap and hip-hop. And yet, the theater-kids (mostly white) held Prince as their idol; Bowie's weirdness was so old it was acknowledged, but not held up nearly as high. Boy George had more impact on that market. than Bowie did. To someone with unchecked white privilege, this would look like Prince was 'transcending' his blackness to appeal to a non-street market. Instead, what he showed was the breadth of blackness, challenging the gangsta-narrative that was luring so many of my male classmates.

I have one memory of a couple of boys, who put on bandannas once they were off-campus, reacting with confusion to a discussion about Prince by some of those theater-kids. They didn't know what to make of Prince, a black man who most definitely was not street.

Prince was also queering gender before we started putting those words together. Androgyny was the term at the time, but these days queer would be a much better term for what it was he was doing in the 80's and early 90's. That resonated with me, even though I didn't notice it. Prince challenged narratives to what it meant to be masculine. His sudden loss took away one of the examples I had unknowingly been looking to for support.

So, yes. I'm taking a new look at his music right now. But he leaves a huge hole that no one person can fill.

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