Prince Awakens the Queer Child
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When Stroman’s delivered my grandmother’s stereo console, it was the beginning of a love affair. Stroman’s was central Arkansas’ go-to rent-to-own furniture store in the early 1980s. In preparation for this meeting, I went shopping through my cousin’s record collection, begging him to part with “just one more” before it was time to leave. Now, lifting the lid of the console, I came face-to-face with the black, circular truth teller that would allow me to meet a significant part of myself. Months before, I would visit my friend Candia to get close to her cable. The video for “Little Red Corvette” was in heavy rotation on MTV at the time. The way he frames his face while singing “A body like yours ought to be/ in jail/ Cuz it’s on the verge of/ being obscene” (Prince 1982a) tore into me. The stacked vocals, the pulsating movements, the delay, and finally the release—“I’m gonna try to tame your/ Little red love machine” (Prince 1982a)—a signature yell punctuating his statement. I was...
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