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But considering how many times he’s contradicted himself, is it possible that maybe he really was dreaming when he wrote them?album, a taut, 30-minute ode to sexual anarchy, greeted the Decade of Greed with an open invitation to everyone—gay, straight, man, woman, black, white, whatever—to join a party where the only thing that mattered was how nasty you could get.The precociously self-assured, barely-out-of-his-teens Prince kick-started the musical orgy with the song “Uptown,” his vision of a sexual and racial utopia where it was “white, black, Puerto Rican/ Everybody just a-freakin’.” The number opens with Prince being stopped in the street by a woman who asks him “Are you gay? ” and boogies on, chalking the woman’s attitude up to simple ignorance (“She’s just a crazy, crazy, crazy little mixed-up dame/ She’s just a victim of society and all its games”).Elsewhere on the album is “Head,” a song that finds our hero receiving oral sex from a bride on her way to the altar.With the release of his next effort, 1981’s , Prince perfected his manifesto.The title track dispensed with metaphor and got down to business, with Prince directly addressing the critics who found his material salacious and possibly dangerous to the youth of America.The film itself, though, took Prince’s sex-freak persona to a darker, more sinister place than any of his previous music.The film, Prince’s only box-office success, casts him as a struggling musician with an abusive father who has passed along his habit of hitting women to his son.
“There had never been a performer so brazenly sexual, and even though some artists around that time were making heads turn, Prince was the first artist to really stand up and shout “Sex is good.” He didn’t treat sex as something to simply get attention with. The Equal Rights Amendment once again fails to be ratified, thanks in large part to Phyllis Schlafly and the religious right. Ronald Reagan is in his second year as the president who will have waited until 21,000 Americans have died of AIDS before discussing it in a speech.Leonard Maltin praised the film’s concert sequences—some of the best ever filmed—but said “the film suffers from sexist, unappealing characters (especially Prince’s).” Gundersen, who has interviewed the notoriously press-wary musician a few times over the years, agrees that Purple Rain’s treatment of women is difficult to defend, but doesn’t believe that the character of The Kid is an accurate representation of Prince. But [Prince] has a great deal of respect for women.He’s always taken female sexuality very seriously, and that’s rare for a male artist.” For some, in fact, Prince apparently took female sexuality a bit too seriously.