Analyzing Diamonds & Pearls: Poetic Gems from a Poet Concerned with Every Aspect of Life

After having his last two albums connected to and somewhat limited by movies, Prince is ready to return to unlimited creativity.  His fourteenth album, Diamonds and Pearls (1991) reflects this attitude. This collection of gems represents the diversity of Prince. He is an encyclopedia and a prism of music, having the ability to take all that has come before him and create his own, unique brand of music-literature and, in doing so, expand the world of popular music.  In his article, “The Musical Alchemist,” for El Pais, Luis Hidalgo asserts that “The difference is [Prince’s] influences, his musical inspirations, the ease with which he assimilates them and then reinvents them with his own personal imprint. Prince has created his own unique style…an incomparable way of making music, style you can distinguish by the second verse” (Hidalgo 1994). Diamonds and Pearls acts as a small prism to reflect the history and variety of music-literature. It includes everything from gospel to straightforward jazz, from the big band sound to hardcore funk, rock, and soul. Moreover, the lyrics cover issues from spiritual salvation to economics, from comments on social independence and politics to love and romance.  With Diamonds and Pearls, Prince is once again championing his philosophy of obtaining and being at peace by asserting, unapologetically, that God is the answer for a world struggling with its flesh and looking in the wrong places for direction and identity. Furthermore, Prince is proving that he is a master poet as he is one of the few who writes equally well about politics and romance in a manner that is work remains gems of insight and wisdom for a holistic human experience.

C. Liegh McInnis

C. Liegh McInnis is a poet, short story writer, instructor of English at Jackson State University, the former publisher and editor of Black Magnolias Literary Journal, and the author of eight books, including four collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction (Scripts: Sketches and Tales of Urban Mississippi), one work of literary criticism (The Lyrics of Prince: A Literary Look at a Creative, Musical Poet, Philosopher, and Storyteller), and one co-authored work, Brother Hollis: The Sankofa of a Movement Man, which discusses the life of a legendary Mississippi Civil Rights icon. He is also a former First Runner-Up of the Amiri Baraka/Sonia Sanchez Poetry Award sponsored by North Carolina State A&T. He has presented papers at national conferences, such as College Language Association, the National Council of Black Studies, the Neo-Griot Conference, and the Black Arts Movement Festival, and his work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Southern Quarterly, Konch Magazine, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Down to the Dark River: An Anthology of Poems on the Mississippi River, Black Hollywood Unchained: Essays about Hollywood’s Portrayal of African Americans, Black Panther: Paradigm Shift or Not? A Collection of Reviews and Essays on the Blockbuster Film, Asymptote, The Pierian, Black Gold: An Anthology of Black Poetry, Sable, New Delta Review, The Black World Today, In Motion Magazine, MultiCultural Review, A Deeper Shade, New Laurel Review, ChickenBones, Oxford American, Journal of Ethnic American Literature, B. K. Nation, Red Ochre Lit, and Brick Street Press Anthology. In January of 2009, C. Liegh, along with eight other poets, was invited by the NAACP to read poetry in Washington, DC, for their Inaugural Poetry Reading celebrating the election of President Barack Obama. He has also been invited by colleges and libraries all over the country to read his poetry and fiction and to lecture on various topics, such as creative writing and various aspects of African American literature, music, and history.

McInnis can be contacted through:
Psychedelic Literature
203 Lynn Lane
Clinton, MS 39056
601 383 0024

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