I Wonder U: How Prince Went Beyond Race and Back

Rutgers Univ. Nov. 2019. 250p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9781978805170. $75; pap. ISBN 9781978805163. $24.95. MUSIC.
Prince (1958–2016) was known for diversifying his career as a singer, songwriter, producer, actor, and more, all while reinventing himself. Nama (African American studies, Loyola Marymount Univ.; Race on the QT: Blackness and the Films of Quentin Tarantino) focuses on Prince’s reinventions and his influence on popular and American culture. By using examples of the performer’s work and interviews and referring to other research on the musician, Nama places Prince’s bold personality in the context of its effects on black expression, “black music” and “white music,” masculinity, gender, and sexuality, all areas that were more rigidly defined in a previous generation and that Prince asks us to reassess. For those born in the 1990s or later, this book explores what were once shocking displays of the human body and sexuality and provides insight into the artist’s nonconformity, which many will now see as commonplace.
VERDICT A must for Prince fans and for readers interested in his impact on the music industry, pop culture, and race and gender theory.
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