Personal Style

Dear Prince…(He Got Style series)

Your death has hit me really hard…it’s the first time someone has died who I never met has hit me this hard, so honestly I don’t know what to do with all this shock and grief…I guess that’s why I woke up at 4.30am today-Friday 22nd April- the early morning after your death with the need to pour some of my thoughts and memories of you into my blog.

Prince Polka Dot Style

I’m trying to figure out when I first knew that there was a Prince Rogers Nelson out there, I believe I was 9 years old and my dad had come back from London and as he was wont to do back in the day, he bought us a music video compilation track on VHS (oh yes, that far back…)  I remember watching your MTV Video Music Award performance of ‘Rasberry Beret’, seeing a petite man in a two-piece suit decorated with baby blue and white cloud prints, high-collared white shirt with ruffles, coiffed hair, cuban heels and ,holding a fabulously zany custom-designed guitar, singing like a dream and I was hooked.  I also remember doing the dance routine to the track, which I can still do btw…

Prince Iconic Style

I got to know more of your music via my oldest sister, she had your 1991 Greatest Hits compilation but I guess it wasn’t until my teens when I watched your 1984 film debut classic, Purple Rain that I truly became a Fan, Follower…we all know the iconic tracks that were birthed during that time…I fell in love with your unabashed style, the confident way you wore your extravagant pieces…there was that album cover…its no wonder purple is one of my favourite colours…I soaked in your talent, you were: actor, singer, performer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and more.

80s Style Prince

In the 70s, 80s and 90s especially, you broke style boundaries and challenged my and people’s traditional concept of sexuality.  You redefined the term ‘showman’ continuously. Sex sells and some would say you exploited that via your lyrics and dress code, I say exploit away because even when you may have looked sleazy standing in an unbuttoned trench coat, bare chest, kerchief, underwear, eyeliner et al, your talent gave you so much originality and class: you are/were/are one of the very few artists who straddled sexuality, not to mention music genres so well…

Prince Dirty Mind Album Cover

I can’t talk about your style without mentioning the style of the women in your videos, because perfectionist that you were, I’m sure you had a say in what your entourage wore.

You were an Equal Opportunities kinda guy when it came to sex, you dressed in revealing attire and so did the women you rolled with.  Back then in the 80s that meant: Cabaret Raunch manifesting itself in biiiig hair, gloves, look-at-me earrings, lingerie worn as outerwear, thigh-highs, capes, corsets, come-fuck-me heels, tight leather, lace…the works.  Elements of that look inspires me and fashion designers to this very day…

Apollonia 6 Album Cover

Prince’s 80s group, Apollonia 6,

If I’m going to talk about your women, then I have to fast forward to the 90s, to the Diamond & Pearl era: I have to say you made my 2nd sister and I want to be Diamond and Pearl (Lori Elle and Robia LaMorte), those black and white polka dot and red baby doll dresses the girls wore in the Get Off video, omg…I can still do the dance to the chorus. In fact when that song comes on in the club, Lord help those who don’t move out of my way coz someone’s getting hit…I love the stylish orgy that went down in that video, it was so reflective of its time…and only you could have pulled off a Rooster Hairdo! And then there was Cream (another video with Diamond  & Pearl) which was a video that gave over 6 minutes of Style Extravaganza…

Diamond & Pearl Prince

Diamond & Pearl,

You are the gift that keeps on giving, only this year I was introduced to one of your protegé’s and lead singer of ’80s girl group, Vanity 6: Denise Matthews aka Vanity (who sadly passed away this year), I had no idea of the history between you and her and since discovering Vanity I keep watching her live performances, as well as the video, Nasty Girl, a track you wrote and composed.  Her wardrobe, dancing…they have you written all over it.

Prince & Vanity,

Denise Matthews aka Vanity

Denise Matthews aka Vanity,

Now let’s focus on  your dancing for a minute, I love/d the James Brown-esque splits and turns, your twirls, yes in the video ‘Dirty Mind’, you gave good twirl. It’s hard for me to choose which video of yours is my favourite for dancing.  The quick shuffle you did across the stage in your ass-less chaps in ‘I Would Die 4 You’ (even Missy picked this move out in her, Work It video), is high up there you even did a shimmy in that video…your choreography was always on point. It’s no wonder that when MTV was actually Music Television, you were one of the pioneers who showed the world that music was not just about audio, it could also have a visual component which would carry further the meaning of a song.

Your album covers gave me life, I remember being in Portobello Market (London) walking past a music stand and passing your Lovesexy album cover, it made me stop, walk back and smile…

Prince Lovesexy Album Cover


Speaking about smiling, you made me laaaaugh (only you could have rejected starring in a Michael Jackson video in such a funny way) your tongue n cheek humour is seen throughout your career, with your lyrics, your way of dressing…

Singer Prince Style

You know what, writing this has helped a little, at the risk of sounding obvious, Praise The Lord for words.

Before I go out O.U.T, I have a ritual, I watch music videos and dance. Dare I say, very often, that’s my best part of a night! Anyhoo, this weekend I’ll put on my PRINCE, THE HITS COLLECTION DVD (which follows me everywhere), I’m going to have fun watching your Dirty Mind twirl, then I’ll probably move on to videos like Darling Nikki…the works, I’ll have a party in your honour.  I’ll try not to cry again… I’m glad I got to see you in concert in LDN all those years back…Thank you for all the inspiration.

Prince Iconic Style

And what track do I live y’all with? Not one sung by Prince actually, but one that has him all over it as he wrote and produced it for singer, Tevin Campbell.  It’s called Round and Round (1990) and Prince even appears in the video- Yay!  Lets not forget that genius that he is/was/is he wrote and produced hits for other artists. Last year I was having a shower in Port Harcourt (Nigeria) with my TV turned up real loud and I could hear a track playing and I was like, ‘Is that a Prince song, I’ve never heard before?’  Well I sprinted out of that shower dripping wet and began to groove.  Just as Prince would have wanted me to.

(Prince, June 7, 1958- April 21, 2016)