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A BLACK MUSIC
MONTH SPECIAL 4U

Our new Black Music Month special issue features this beguiling cover shot of the late, great Prince—taken in 1981, at the beginning of a nearly decade-long run of colossal hits and cultural influence—captures both his transgressive mystique and his defiance of a conformist era. Defying genre and gender norms simultaneously, playing virtually every known instrument and producing his own records, he flipped the script as no one ever has.  The Purple One was a few years from his maximum impact when this photo was taken. But in retrospect, it’s clear he was already poised to change everything.

Industry icon Clarence Avant has been influencing the direction of black music for more than six decades. His impact has stretched from the boardrooms of the major labels to the White House and beyond, as chronicled in Reginald Hudlin’s stunning new Netflix documentary, The Black Godfather. In the film, luminaries from Barack Obama to Berry Gordy praise the man’s wisdom and gruffly philanthropic spirit. We can’t think of a more fitting Contents Page VIP for this Black Music Month special.

 

Prince photo by Virginia Turbett

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