“I’m not a woman. I’m not a man. I am something that you’ll never understand”

When I wrote about David Bowie I noted that the only male celebrities I ever impersonated for Hallowe’en were Bowie and Prince. Prince_logo The two things that stick with me about Prince are in contradiction (like life).

I found his songs joyously sex-positive.  The women got off in his songs.  They did not exist as simply a plaything for a man.  (I wasn’t familiar with his earliest stuff, and the film Purple Rain didn’t appeal to me.  I am reading that I might find those misogynist.)  The Prince I listened to loved women.  They were also respected as full musicians in his band, not simple novelties.

Darling Nikki, Little Red Corvette, Let’s Go Crazy, Delirious, Sexy MF – deliciously naughty sexy songs that commanded you to the dance floor and empowered you once you arrived. princebw When Prince embraced his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness, he refrained from playing his sexiest songs in public.  I wondered if there were now conflicts between his previous sex-positive and gender-positive reputation, and the stifled role of women and LGBT people in his church.  If there were, they didn’t reach me. princecolour I realized that the song The Cross on The Blind Boys of Alabama “Higher Ground” CD was written by Prince Rogers Nelson.  Powerful and blunt.

But I didn’t cry until I was listening to I Would Die 4 U.  The lyrics can be read as a straight up missive from JC Himself:

“I Would Die 4 U”

I’m not a woman
I’m not a man
I am something that you’ll never understand
 

I’ll never beat u
I’ll never lie
And if you’re evil I’ll forgive u by and by

U – I would die 4 u, yeah
Darling if u want me 2
U – I would die 4 u

I’m not your lover
I’m not your friend
I am something that you’ll never comprehend

No need 2 worry
No need 2 cry
I’m your messiah and you’re the reason why

‘Cuz U – I would die 4 u, yeah
Darling if u want me 2
U – I would die 4 u

You’re just a sinner I am told
Be your fire when you’re cold
Make u happy when you’re sad
Make u good when u are bad

I’m not a human
I am a dove
I’m your conscious
I am love
All I really need is 2 know that
U believe

Yeah, I would die 4 u, yeah
Darling if u want me 2
U – I would die 4 u

Yeah, say one more time

U – I would die 4 u
Darling if u want me 2
U – I would die 4 u
2 3 4 U

I would die 4 u
I would die 4 u
U – I would die 4 u
U – I would die 4 u

 

princeperforming
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