"He Refused to Live in a Binary": The World Mourns Death of Gender-Bending Music Legend Prince
Prince died Thursday at his home in Minnesota at the age of 57. His work spanned funk, rock and jazz, and he recorded and distributed it on his own terms, once writing "slave" on his check to protest his treatment by Warner Brothers. "When I think back on the work done around race and gender and identity to this time, I realize seeing Prince was one of the first times I saw some who refused to live in a binary," says Steven Thrasher, whose new piece is entitled "Prince broke all the rules about what black American men should be." "When he named himself the artist formerly known as Prince, or, rather, used that symbol, he was really refusing to play by the game that society had put forth for him." We also speak with Winston Grady-Willis, a lifelong fan of Prince and professor and chair of Africana Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver.