Prince: is it all about race?

I was genuinely surprised about how black the reaction to Prince‘s death was. I don’t know how to do screen shots, but look at the avatars here. I always saw him as a-racial.  I doubt Prince saw himself as very black. Nothing about his persona was very black. Thoughts?


  • All Too Much

    Some kinda cultural appropriation, by someone, I suspect.

  • Personally I thought his music was good and race never factored into it, unlike Rap.

    I can’t imagine noticing much at all if a rapper dies as I simply abhor it.

  • DavidinNorthBurnaby

    Phenomenal talent.

  • Dana Garcia

    I get the feeling that American blacks are somewhat nervous about being surpassed by hispanics in population, which happened in 2003, so there is a desire to emphasize their cultural importance.

  • kkruger71

    I fully agree. Once I got past my friends immediate reaction, I noticed the same thing, though I will disagree to an extent about his persona. He changed his image a few times over his career and some of them were more “black” than others. His early days were very black, and I found his NPG era (Cream, Get Off) stuff was very black culture as well. The middle stuff, where he was arguably at his biggest, were fairly racially ambiguous.
    I though he was a great writer, guitar player, etc., I just couldn’t stand his singing. Something about his voice really set me off, which is why I’ve always enjoyed his songs when other people performed them and to a lesser extent when he would do a duet.

    • I have a vague idea that you could actually opt out of the race thing back in the day. I don’t think you could now.

      • kkruger71

        True, in much the same way as you can’t opt out of feminism either. Trying to stay out of these things just means you will be asked about it until you parrot the acceptable lines.

        • My housemate in high school who used to play Prince all the time was half black. Her mother was from Mauritius. But all her friends were white, and this was in England, so it’s just different. It’s not the same as North America. Different scene, man.

          You could pretty much have convinced me Prince was a white guy. I mean, he was from Minnesota. Aw, Jeez.

  • Shebel

    I never really thought much about him when he was here—–
    Now that he is not here-
    I don’t think much about that either.

  • Yusuf_al_Kafir

    I can’t speak to everything to do with Prince and racial identity, but this is interesting.

    Skip to 2:32 of the video below to see Prince endorse a black gentleman by the name of Dick Gregory.

    Dick Gregory is a fella who talks about chemtrails (LOL) and the like and how they are part of a plot to malign/destroy the black community.

    Immediately after Prince mentions Dick the video cuts to the speech that Prince was referring to.

    (Whatever an artist’s/musician’s opinions/behaviours, I can separate the person from their work; excluding Gary Glitter, or course. Put differently, music and art is usually better than the people who create it.)

  • Ho Hum

    I never thought of Prince as being particularly black. I don’t know his background but I suspect he had more Caucasian DNA than African. Perhaps he was similar to Michael Jackson who it was said despised ghetto blacks which is why he tried to make himself as white as possible. Prince was asked once why he choose to live in Minneapolis and he responded that the cold weather kept the “bad people away” which I took to mean black people (Somalian invasion notwithstanding).

  • T.C.

    He kind of reminded me of the Portuguese janitor back when I was a student.

  • eMan14

    I don’t think you can categorize his as being strictly black. What ever that really means. His ability as a musician and as an artist transcends any cultural limitations he may or may not have. I don’t know him personally. I don’t even know him that well as an entertainment icon. I do know that I like much of his music. Quite well.

  • John

    Prince certainly was talented. His music was far more original and innovative than other stars like Michael Jackson. He came from no where and by the age of 17 had landed a recording deal.

    As for race, Prince was in the category ‘other’. Many didn’t see him as black at all. He certainly wasn’t ‘ghetto’ and while growing up was probably around Whites most of the time. Wikki says that both his parents were Black, but they must have had a lot of White blood as well, to judge from the look of Prince. I didn’t really see him as an African American.

  • lolwut?