Remembrance: Prince & The Women


Aside from his musical gifts and his ability to dance in those little pointed heels, Prince was the epitome of cool when it came to women. In his time, Prince embraced femininity in ways that most men either make punchlines about or try with authorial might to dictate and define. Like David Bowie (who we also unfairly lost this year), Prince was a notorious gender bender, embracing gender fluidity without an ounce of humiliation or gimmick as he stomped the stage in mascara, eyeliner, and hair laid to the gods --- often looking better than the women he frequently surrounded himself with. No one would ever think to wear a zebra-striped Shanna the She-Devil-esque outfit with black thigh-high boots during their first televised appearance to the world, but Prince did and gloriously so, as he pranced around tossing diva attitude, not giving a flying fudgsicle for formal, less forward introductions.

Flaunting his feminine side wasn't just a costume for Prince, as in his music he was vocal about women that went beyond what other male vocalists of his era were exuding. Sure, he had some off-beat ideas about us at times ("Sister" is all kinds of wild...) and to dub him Male Feminist of the Century is a bit of a stretch (and might be ~problematic~ with the Tumblr set), but Prince went beyond the 'ooo-baby-baby's' of the 1960s and 1970s school of lovermen, writing about women in provocative narratives that while sexually explicit weren't openly degrading or violent. In song, Prince allowed women, from the freaks to the rare flowers, to be the unapologetic heroines of their carnal pleasures.

As much as a he was the "fanciest lesbian" in music, who in his lifetime had a list of paramours that rivaled the Dead Sea Scrolls, his Royal Badness wasn't afraid to open his court towards the fairer sex in other, more productive ways. In a rock music era that functioned on machismo and wanted women to play cutesy hood ornaments, Prince elevated women past muse, collaborating and performing alongside them, often fixing them within the frame of his bands or writing and producing material for them. Sheila E., Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Jill Jones, Cat GloverRosie GainesApollonia Kotero, and Denise "Vanity" Matthews (who also sadly passed away this year), are just a few of the names the Paisley Park has nurtured, while other established stars like Chaka Khan, Sheena Easton, Stevie NicksJanelle Monae, and Madonna, benefited from a little purple glow during Prince's reign.

In keeping with the theme of this blog, and to honor Prince in the best way that I can, I wanted to look at his influence through the women he welcomed in his aura. Whether lover, friend, musical equal, future disciple or all of the above, the women I have chosen to cover over the next several weeks kept the Paisley Park flourishing with great sounds and lots of undeniable sass.

So hang onto your raspberry berets and watch this space for updates as there's going to be a lot of 'D.M.S.R-ing' happening in the next several weeks all in the name of his Purple Majesty.

Long live the Prince!

Purple Women 
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