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Prophecy, Eroticism, and Apocalypticism in Popular Music: Prince

Prophecy, Eroticism, and Apocalypticism in Popular Music: Prince Propheq, Erolicism, ond Apoco/yplicism in Popa/or Music: Prince Richard E. Wimberley Prince Rogers Nelson has been an anomaly in the music industry during the 1980s. A charismatic leader of cult-like proportions, he panders to no one. His erotic mysticism and prophetic vision have made him a figure firmly grounded in the history of black messiahs. Standing uniquely in the tradition of black radicalism and touching the sensibilities of today's youths when he calls for an assault on human misery, Prince has made votaries of the socially discontented, with a promise of a better world until the apocalypse comes. Like many twentieth-century prophets and messiahs before him, Prince is shrouded in mystery. Early in his career he caused some confusion about his age and parentage, initially claiming to be years younger in order to establish himself as a child prodigy. He also claimed to be a child of miscegenation; in fact both of his parents are black. Seldom does he grant interviews, and his semi-autobiographi­ cal 1985 film, Purple Rain, reveals little more than a sullen, with­ drawn, eccentric personality. His inner circle of followers rarely com­ ment on him, as though they are sworn to secrecy. Of greatest interest http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Black Sacred Music Duke University Press

Prophecy, Eroticism, and Apocalypticism in Popular Music: Prince

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Copyright
Copyright © 1989 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1043-9455
eISSN
2640-9879
DOI
10.1215/10439455-3.2.125
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Propheq, Erolicism, ond Apoco/yplicism in Popa/or Music: Prince Richard E. Wimberley Prince Rogers Nelson has been an anomaly in the music industry during the 1980s. A charismatic leader of cult-like proportions, he panders to no one. His erotic mysticism and prophetic vision have made him a figure firmly grounded in the history of black messiahs. Standing uniquely in the tradition of black radicalism and touching the sensibilities of today's youths when he calls for an assault on human misery, Prince has made votaries of the socially discontented, with a promise of a better world until the apocalypse comes. Like many twentieth-century prophets and messiahs before him, Prince is shrouded in mystery. Early in his career he caused some confusion about his age and parentage, initially claiming to be years younger in order to establish himself as a child prodigy. He also claimed to be a child of miscegenation; in fact both of his parents are black. Seldom does he grant interviews, and his semi-autobiographi­ cal 1985 film, Purple Rain, reveals little more than a sullen, with­ drawn, eccentric personality. His inner circle of followers rarely com­ ment on him, as though they are sworn to secrecy. Of greatest interest

Journal

Black Sacred MusicDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 1989

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