“Run to the Light; Leave Your Past Behind” –What Prince and Donna Summer Have in Common

I never knew that the late disco icon Donna Summer stopped performing “Love to Love You Baby” at one point in her career because it conflicted with her religious beliefs. I’ve been reading this fact in many of the reports since she passed away four days ago. Of course, Prince can relate; he no longer performs risqué songs like “Darling Nikki” or “Head” at his concerts out of respect for his faith.

There are numerous artists who similarly changed the content of their music and performances for religious reasons. In fact, I seem to discover a new one every day. I’d mentioned five other born-again musicians in an earlier post, but I only know of Little Richad and Al Green making changes to their repertoire. Others whom I did not mention include Ma$e (briefly), Cheryl “Salt” James of Salt ‘N Pepa and Coko of SWV. See more here.

I’ve been thinking about these “transformations” and wondering if it may be a cultural trend. The majority of the popular artists whom I hear about are African American. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because the church has always played an important role in the African American community, and many R&B singers develop their talent there. I haven’t done too much research on this outside of Prince’s story, but I would like to. I’ll be keeping my eye out for books and dissertations on the subject. Maybe it’s something that I will take on after this book (yikes!).

R.I.P. Donna Summer

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