I posted this photo of Prince on my Instagram as a personal protest against the causes for the resentment I felt both for him but principally Michael Jackson.
This resentment has it roots in the feelings of oppression I felt when from since the age of 7, people of a certain demographic used Michael Jackson’s name as a sort of racial slur in the street to mock my curly hair and my beautiful brown complexion. MJ’s signature ‘hee-hee’ was and still occasionally is a deeply traumatising death cry, its utterance from ignorant mouths killing my soul in the smallest but most significant of ways. I’ve been asked to moonwalk, forced to dance, and even had people rapping into my hair as though it were a microphone (which sounds pretty hilarious looking back.)
When I became older and started experimenting with vintage fashion, Prince became the name hurled at me through creased, cackling faces, and his much beloved anthem Purple Rain made me wish these two artists never existed so I could live in this world without feeling dehumanised by their constant comparison.
Emulating (White) female fashion icons allows me to choose my own image and benefit from some of the social benefits the glamour aesthetic provides. While the abuse still comes, I sometimes feel so overwhelmed by the label-sticking that I feel forced to reject that which I should embrace because it feels tainted by the poisonous White lens.
I watched a documentary on Prince, and this quote “I’m not woman, I’m not a man, I’m something you will never understand”, tells me that regardless of how hearing his name may have hurt me, he was with me the whole way.