As the world mourns songwriter and performer Prince, who died yesterday at 57, the stories of his legacy have started coming out of the woodwork. ABC Australia noted the rocker’s significant commitment to women in the music scene, citing his early respect and fondness for Joni Mitchell as playing an important role on Prince in formative years. “Prince was someone who really respected women as artists, songwriters and performers — something that was certainly not a given in the 70s and 80s when he started, and still isn’t even an assumed truth now,” said Bernard Zuel, senior music writer for Fairfax Media.
ABC said that Prince wasn’t a perfect man, but more open than most in understanding and celebrating the complexities of women. He celebrated sex by showing women “with the same sexual urges as men,” Buzzfeed’s Nichole Perkins wrote, with lyrics that glorified sexuality without reducing women to roles without power.
Also worth noting is the 1994 music video for “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” where a diverse group of women watch their greatest achievements on video. Lyrics to that song include, “Cuz baby, this kind of beauty has got no reason to ever be shy / ‘Cuz honey, this kind of beauty is the kind that comes from inside.”
Prince wrote and played music alongside artists like Sheila E, who became famous in her own right after striking out from Prince’s band. (The two were also once almost married.) “I influenced him the same way he influenced me,” ABC cites Sheila E as once saying. “We mentored each other, if you want to look at it that way. That’s the good thing about Prince: you can see how he was influenced by the people around him.”
Prince also wrote huge hits for women artists including Sinead O’Connor (finally, an excuse to watch the “Nothing Compares 2 U” video), Chaka Khan, and Stevie Nicks.
Read the full story at ABC.