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The Purple One - Prince, Race, Gender, and Everything in Between

The Purple One

Prince, Race, Gender, and Everything in Between

Edited by Judson L. Jeffries, Shannon M. Cochran, and Molly Reinhoudt
Series: American Made Music Series

Hardcover : 9781496853882, 208 pages, November 2024
Paperback : 9781496853899, 208 pages, November 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-11-15
Expected to ship: 2024-11-15

An electric collection of essays and reflections on an enigmatic musical legend


Contributions by Cassandra D. Chaney, Shannon M. Cochran, Samuel P. Fitzpatrick, Judson L. Jeffries, Zada Johnson, Tony Kiene, Aaron J. Kimble, Jerod Lockhart, Molly Reinhoudt, Paul N. Reinsch, Laurel Westrup, and Sherman M. White

Prince (1958–2016) looms large in contemporary music history. Despite universal acclaim for his artistry, few scholars and writers have thoroughly treated the underlying ideas expressed in his work or examined his profound impact on popular culture. The Purple One: Prince, Race, Gender, and Everything in Between positions Prince in his proper cultural, political, and social place in history.

Contributors employ a diverse range of approaches to explore the intricate facets of this cultural icon, illuminating the many dimensions of his creative output and legacy. The collection is organized around two central themes that shed light on Prince’s artistry and lasting influence. Moving beyond conventional discussions about Prince and masculinity, Part I, “Black Masculinity and Gender Performativity,” delves into less-explored aspects of the artist’s gender-bending persona. Essays in this section cover a slew of fascinating subjects, including Prince’s re-scripting of Black masculinity in the cult classic Under the Cherry Moon, and an autoethnographic study of African American father-son relationships in the film Purple Rain. Another essay examines the subversive gender performativity of Prince and frequent collaborator Sheila E.

Part II, “Beauty, Race, and Spirituality,” explores a range of topics present in Prince’s oeuvre, from the sociopolitical contours of his work to his overlooked but significant projects and protégés. Contributors in this section examine Prince’s representations of female beauty, his articulations of urban rage and protest, and his commercially successful but critically overlooked Batman soundtrack. This second installment of the ongoing scholarly project, PrincEnlighteNmenT: A Study of Society through Music, continues to center Prince as a focal point in music scholarship and enhance our understanding of his complex life and work.