Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Thursday, June 07, 2007

    Today is the icon's birthday...Prince Rogers Nelson. The flamboyant legend is 49 years-old today. He looks absolutely dashing to be nearly 50 with a face like 12 year-old white girl and a streamline figure that's constantly doused in cloaks, semi-gowns, beads, bangles and jewels. Prince has still got it.

    My love affair with Prince began as a child due to my mother being a huge Prince fan. I don’t even think “fan” is the right word; she was deeply obsessed with the 5’2” (5’3” – 5’4” in a good pump!) musical prodigy. Yes, my mother was like one of those crazy Michael Jackson fans, but Prince was her addiction.

    I grew up hearing Prince nearly every day. If I listen to 1983’s 1999 album memories pop up that I haven't thought of in years; his music is in the fabric of my memory. When Purple Rain was released in 1984 it was a major event in my house. Keep in my mind, I was 7 in 1984 so my mother was 24...still very young and not totally over her fanatical fan years that we all go through.

    There was a Prince contest at a local radio station where the first twenty pe
    ople in line with purple balloons would get an advanced copy of the Purple Rain album. My mother and her best friend arrived at the station a lil' too late, but that was not going to stop a crazed Italian woman and an even more crazed Mexican woman from getting their advanced copy of his "purple badness". When the radio station opened its doors a big commotion started, my mother and her friend stormed to the front of the line and in the process smacked a woman in the face with a batch of purple balloons. Everyone began shouting at them, but they could care less as they screamed and jumped up and down when they had Purple Rain in their hands. That album was played on heavy rotation for the rest of the eighties in my house.

    When Purple Rain opened in theatres my mother could not find a babysitter. Well, she dragged me along with her! When the smoky silhouette of Prince hit the screen, my mother squeezed my hand and began screaming and crying. I was yelling, "Mom, stop! You're embarrassing me!"

    Every time Prince appeared on the movie screen she reacted like it wasn't a Prince movie and she had no idea he would flash on the screen, "Ahhhh -- oh, Lord that's him!" "Ahhhhh -- PRINCE!" "Ahhhhhhh -- I love him!" All throughout the movie she was bawling and hollering while covering my eyes when the sex scenes popped up. I was completely mortified...she would see the movie five more times in theatres, the times I was forced to go again she always had the same reaction.

    I could go on forever about my mother's obsession with Prince, but my first memory of Prince is actually a milestone in my life. My mother used to have all of his albums decorated around the house like he was her boyfriend. Album covers on the window sill, in the kitchen; propped up by the TV…each corner of the house had a Prince album. I remember as a young child...this just might be my first gay memory...mesmerized by the Dirty Mind album cover. He was seductively standing in black briefs, a bandanna around his neck and a trashy '80's jacket against a spring bed. I was strangely attracted to the album cover and would just stare at it for what seemed like hours. Yes, Prince officially made me gay.

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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 17 comments

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