Pioneer and independent – Prince defied culture, gender and race

Judith Peraino, a professor of musicology at Cornell University and an expert in music and queer theory, comments on the sudden death of Prince and says the iconic singer defied musical, cultural, and racial categories.

Bio: http://music.cornell.edu/people/faculty/profile/judith-a-peraino/

 

Peraino says:

“Prince was a pioneer in demolishing musical and cultural categories. His unique revolutionary sound fused Jimi Hendrix-style guitar virtuosity, deep funk grooves, falsetto soul vocals, and the crisp rhythms and bright timbres of 1980s new wave synthpop. 

“With this fusion of musical styles, Prince defied sonic constructions of race – an artistic vision he conveyed early in his 1981 song ‘Controversy’, with lines like ‘I wish there were no black or white, I wish there were no rules.’

“Along with David Bowie, Prince also revolutionized images of gender and sexuality in the media. Fluidity of gender roles are featured in many of his songs and videos, such as ‘Kiss’ and ‘If I was your Girlfriend’, and epitomized by his name change to the combined Venus/Mars symbol, which refused gender classification and linguistic codification.

“His fierce independence from social and corporate structures has forever changed the landscape of popular culture.”