My Name Isn't Prince

When Prince announced he would no longer go by his birth name on June 7th, 1993, it took the public and his record label, Warner Brothers, by surprise. Henceforth he wanted to be known, he explained, as an unpronounceable ‘Love Symbol’; a bespoke mash-up of the Mars and Venus gender signs which wasn’t even available in font libraries.

The dispute centred on the fact that ‘The Artist’ had 500 unreleased songs in his studio vault at Paisley Park, but Warner believed to put them out too quickly would saturate the market with Prince albums and devalue their star signing. Prince began performing with the word “SLAVE” on his cheek, regarding his own name as a part of his contractual entrapment. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why, long before Warner’s got involved, Prince’s name had always been a Freudian nightmare; consider the purple one’s claims to be a ‘slave’ in the context of other African-American figures; and reveal the none-too-subtle pseudonyms he deployed when out on the town…


Further Reading:

• The Artist, formerly known as Prince (Entertainment Weekly, 1999):

• ‘A Prince by Any Other Name’ (Vanity Fair, 2011):

• ‘Larry King Live: Prince’ (CNN, 1999):

#Music #Black #US #90s


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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

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