Category Archives: Sexuality

Prince Died

Prince

Prince died. I don’t even know what that means. I walked in the door and Ben was there, hugged me and I started weeping.

 

Prince is wrapped up in my burgeoning sexuality, concepts of love and romance, friendship, commitment, weirdness, boldness, confidence, blackness, integrity…plus a lot of stuff I don’t even know. Mommy started buying his albums in 1978 and I have no memory of musical life without him.

 

All of my friends growing up were Prince fiends. I always said that if I ever met him I’d shake his fingertips, then my uterus would fall out, then I’d die, then he’d touch me and I’d be resurrected. When I got older, Carl and I would use Prince lyrics as writing exercises. I have some stories based on The Ballad of Dorothy Parker, Forever in my Life, and If I Was Your Girlfriend. I wrote poems based on When 2 R N Love, a lot of poems in my teens to that as a matter of fact.

 

A lot of my childhood icons have died in a matter of months. I’d started writing about Vanity earlier, but got sidetracked by a barrage of celebrity deaths that I just muddled through. Vanity and Prince. My youthful loves.

 

When I’m about to do something scary and take a risk, I listen to Baby I’m A Star. Always will it’s my #1 theme song. I listened to it on my wedding day, every time I stepped on stage to tell a story it was my walking in strut music. Bad day: Baby I’m A Star. Good day: Baby I’m A Star. Indifference: Baby I’m A Star.

 

Money Don’t Matter 2nite. Got me through 2008-11.  I was singing it to Ben last week.

 

Me and my relationship with clothes and brocade fabrics bitches.

But it’s also about us facing our own mortality.

Demigod- it would be like if we were in ancient Greece and someone was like, oh, Apollo fell out of the sky today, or Dionysus died.  Died?!! Get the fuck out of here.

 

Latchkey kids were raised by Prince. He’s the nasty talking uncle you want, but you never saw that side of him, he was always sweet with you. Our parents were working but they were just meeting him too. But as adults who knew what he was talking about. But he taught me the word masturbate. I was 12. That learnt me quick. I don’t know if this hit gen x more or not…i don’t know. I know my mom is a mess. She’s the one who started all of this.  She was in her 20’s still when she met him. But we’re from chicago and come from a funk soul tradition. He’d opened for Rick James, so that’s the space

 

In mourning. I have a friend who recently lost her father, that’s real talk, but she reached out to me in my time of grief.

 

Prince is still dead. It still sucks balls generational gap filler. I’m 13 years older than my little sister. She was upset too, crying upset, and she’s pretty practical about this kind of stuff.

 

She doesn’t know a life w/o VCR’s, microwaves, remote controls.

 

8:28p on EasyJet- I don’t have too many more of these in me.

 

Arms of Orion in an airplane with dead Prince.

 

Growing up my best friend Dana and I would ask what our favorite love songs were. Hers was Stevies’ Always, fine choice, but mine was Adore.

He helped shape my concept of love and romance as well as sex.

 

I developed a strange romantic worldview. Because I listen to words. And his words gave me a view of men that were confident, vulnerable, sexy, sexual, thoughtful, sweet, smart, funny, cunning, witty, poetic, talented.

 

And the thing is the boys my age were like that then. Because the listened to him too. Black radio loved him, at least in Chicago they did. He created the space for them to have more dimensions to their masculinity.

 

I remember waiting with a tape to try to get Erotic City recorded from WGCI when morning radio host Bob Wall was suspended for playing the whole thing.

 

Then as a teenager, he did the Batman soundtrack. The first one. w/ the Scandalous Sex Suite, him and Kim Basinger!! Whoa! (And then the rumour that she bought him a town in like South Dakota or something…ask the innerwebs…) By then I was fully ready to have sex and now that I had the soundtrack…almost all Prince sung and the ones I received as flowers.

 

Did I lose my virginity to Prince? Probs. I remember the boy and the music a lot of moany, gravely, breathy business.

 

In college, I broke up with my 1st & only college boyfriend at the same time I got my first CD player. First CD I bought was The Box Set. I hadn’t heard some of those songs since my mom had boxed up her records.

 

I’d taken 2 actual albums 2 college (cause I started with my double cassette player with a record player that I’d gotten for my 16th BD and was already obsolete I digress).

The roots soundtrack & Vanity 6 (I can’t even on Vanity, though in brief, she was jolt to the kind of woman I was supposed to become vs. the kind I wanted to be.)

 

[Nothing Compares 2 U {full disclosure, so was Bitch Ass Nigga-Onyx} my friends wold pass notes with the lyrics to Pink Cashmere on them. We were all obsessed. And had come from all over the country as Black kids to The Mecca and found each other.

 

Prince, Howard…sex, love, unity, pride, 17 Days, Pink Cashmere, Erotic City on CD!!! Diamonds & Pearls, STROLLIN’! I LOVE STROLLIN’!!! Strollin’ just made me tear up on a flight to Spain.

 

So here I am today, living in England & hear the terrible news. I guess I haven’t been quite right since. It was too much public. As public as I am about him, I needed a minute. It’s taken me days to write this when it should take me weeks. I need the amount of time it takes for Jet to come out at least. The space.

 

I am Violet the Organ Grinder, will die but I won’t go away.

 

Here’s a church, here’s a steeple, here’s a muthafucka that I’ve got to blow away.

Here’s my chance to cure the ills of the people, but not until I make this muthafucka pay. Oooh baby, I count the days.

 

Great day in the morning, my choir sings a pretty song.

Everyday I’m wit yo ass is another day wasted I swear is a day 2 long.

 

Countin’- like Frankie Beverley w/o Maze, I’m countin’ muthafucka I count the days.

 

That got me through tough freelance jobs.

 

When I was a kid, my mom got drunk. Drank too much at a wedding on the Northside and was driving us home south. She was throwing up out of the car at stop lights then flew down Lake Shore Drive. There’s a curve that if you take too fast you’re a goner, I didn’t know it then but do now, and it’s terrifying to think she did that. As we got closer to home Let’s Go Crazy came on the radio and I blasted it along with the air conditioner (it was summer). The song stayed on until we pulled in front of our apt building. I rarely remember that. I think I wrote a story about it as well, then put it out of my mind. I knew she loved the song so we sang loud and stayed alive. The next day she had no recollection of what had happened. First blackout. A year later she was in rehab. Thank God for Prince, she said.

 

My mom said it felt like a member of the family died. Gutted was the word she used and in 40 years, I’ve never heard her use that word, and both of her parents are dead. But I guess that’s what all of this is about. There’s not a significant event in my life be it grief or joy that he wasn’t there with me in song & spirit.

 

 

 

Love, Sex and Magic? I don’t think so…by any stretch of the imagination

Today a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook asking why Justin Timberlake gets a pass to degrade black women. They were referring to his, rather Ciara’s new video for a song featuring JT. There were a lot of comments to the article about how he threw Janet under a bus during “Nipplegate“, but I’m on board with the commenter’s who asked “why would Ciara do this?”

I know, it’s a chicken/ egg question for the ages. They’re performers, artists, businesses. JT is like vocal gold in a landscape riddled with weak voices and fueled more by personal scandals than talent. I totally dig that. But it is the 21st century. Maybe she should read this and she wouldn’t be so quick to let some white dude, literally, yank her chain. Wasn’t she the dancing queen a few years ago when she was part of Missy’s crew?

I’ve gone on and on about black female sexuality and film, so all I can say right now is: Really?

Is this really a video today? Are we so willfully ignorant about our own history that we find this acceptable? I’m sick of blaming other people for our own lack of love and respect for ourselves. It’s a tired Civil Rights movement mentality. This young woman was told the concept and performed the video. She’s the one crawling all over this man (white or black) apparently desperate for his attention that only her body and sex can get her. Her “lyrics” are equally as needy and a plea for him to fall in love with her while having sex with her. I guess that’s the part that really disgusts me. A whole generation of young (and not so youthful) women believing that having “mad skills” in the bed will make a man “fall in love”. (Whatever that means to them.)

The theory is that all these gyrations are the thing that will build a lasting loving relationship. Having been on both that young once and the older cynic that I am now, it’s depressing. It’s depressing because I have all these words for it, but it incites in me such a visceral reaction I just start yelling “stop acting like a slut, you’re fucking it up for all of us!!!!” And even if I said that, I’d be shouting at the wind. How can I tell these girls that shaking your booty to the detriment of your mind and self worth won’t get you love? Every other piece of media tells them the exact opposite.

They don’t want to sit around reading stuffy Sterling Brown or hear about Jezebel and her role in their oppression. Shit, they just want to look cute and get some numbers. I dig that. I’ve been there and still go there occasionally. But what I really want to say to them is that they’re worth more than that.

When I was in my early 20’s I worked on a video for Lil’ Kim, “Crush on You”, I was still just a Production Assistant (PA) and was therefore at the bottom of the production food chain. There were a lot of hip hop celebrities around cause Biggie was there and his album was dropping in 2 weeks. Luke had come with his entourage of ladies in sheer dresses with thongs on that beautiful 10 degree day in February. At some point in the 26 hour shoot day, I see a guy grab one of the dancers butt. He just walked up to her and grabbed it. I went up to her and asked if she knew him. She said “No, but he’s one of Mase’s boys”. I didn’t, then, know what a Mase was (nobody did- or would if Biggie had lived I think) and told her he didn’t have the right to touch her like that. She just giggled, repeated the same line, and walked away with him. I was furious. I went in the corner and wrote some moody poem about pain and there being no art there.

As the girl PA, I was especially conscience of my own sexuality because of the sexual attention I garnered from the hip hop dudes whose videos paid my rent. God forbid I should show up in clothes that showed my hot young body, cause they’d try the same thing with me. I remember one rapper (who will remain anonymous because I can’t remember who he was- one hit wonder I think) who couldn’t understand why I wasn’t lapping up his attentions. I was at work and so was he, I told him. His attention, though flattering, was inappropriate. The dancer girls called me a fool. He was rich (only he’s not now, I’m sure) and why wouldn’t I want to go out with a rapper? Cause he’s stupid, and arrogant, and shallow, and not a very good rapper. They thought I was stupid.

But the most important thing was, I didn’t like him and didn’t have to like him just because he found me attractive. I’m not on the slave block. And it’s not that I haven’t fallen into the trap and tried to “learn to like someone” who liked me. But it’s still a more intellectual exercise with an appropriate and seemingly compatible person than me humping the air so they can see how good a lay I am.

I just think more of myself. I think more of my mind than my body, because that’s what I’ve EARNED. I thought I’d look like that forever too. But I don’t now, I look better. You can tell I read too much when you talk to me and that weeds out the riff-raff interested more in my rack than my spin on Foucault. When I tell young girls that their minds are their greatest asset, they look at me like I just farted out of my mouth. So what do you do about Justin Timberlake sexually degrading interactions with black women? Let him not find any black women to sexually degrade… that should be a cinch right? Maybe we can get Michelle Obama to help.