Fans and entertainers alike were shocked when they heard of former singer and model, Denise “Vanity” Matthews had passed away. Now, they are even more shocked that her mentor and music legend, Prince, has died too.
We take a look back a couple of months at how Prince remembered his dear friend. Now they are back together, in heaven.
One entertainer specifically, was one of the few who last saw the woman of God alive.
Rapper MC Hammer tweeted that he had just attended church with Matthews on Saturday: “Vanity left church after giving a beautiful testimony of appreciation for her Pastors & Thanks to her savior Jesus, I was there,” he tweeted. “I was looking for her Sunday and the announcement came that she fell ill during the night.”
MC Hammer often tells the story of growing up in church and losing his way with music, but eventually finding his way back to the Lord. Something that Matthews could relate to and both shared common friends. Hammer and Denise attended a Church of God In Christ denomination.
It was Hammer that co-signed reports that Matthews had said she was “ready to be called home” upon leaving the church.
Matthews turned her life around after a near fatal overdose in 1994. The experience led Matthews to renounce her Hollywood lifestyle and her stage name after becoming a born-again Christian.
“I was sick inside. I was a crack cocaine addict and didn’t even know how to wake up in the morning without some smoke,” she said in 1999.
“When I came to the Lord Jesus Christ, I threw out about 1,000 tapes of mine—every interview, every tape, every video. Everything,” she said.
After her conversion, Matthews devoted her life to evangelism.
Prince, touring in Australia Tuesday night when he heard the news, dedicated several songs to her during a show.
During his piano solo, Prince redid several of his songs as tributes to his onetime love. “I just found out a little while ago that someone dear to us has passed away,” Prince said early in the set, “So I’m gonna dedicate this song to her.” After that, he performed a slowed-down rendition of “Little Red Corvette” with a segue into “Dirty Mind,” both of which were written when the two were together. The tributes continued as Prince performed “The Ladder” with the name “Vanity” exchanged for “Electra,” with the new lyrics, “This Prince, he had a subject named Vanity, who loved him with a passion uncontested.” Later he made similar adjustments to Purple Rain’s “The Beautiful Ones,” shifting “I’m begging down on my knees” to “I’m begging Denise, Denise.”
Prince continued with the tribute throughout the night, launching into an impromptu story about about the musician, actress, and model between songs:
“Can I tell you a story about Vanity? Or should I tell you a story about Denise? Her and I used to love each other deeply. She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong ’cause she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”
He went on to share how they used to joke with each other and had a playful relationship. He finished by saying that Denise would want to be celebrated and not mourned.
Matthews expressed no regrets about leaving her celebrity lifestyle behind.
“When I was Vanity, it was all about me,” she said in 1999. “But when I’m preaching the word of God, it’s Jesus Christ speaking through me. I don’t want people to know who I was back then, but the new creature that God has made me.”
Post courtesy of BlackDoctor.org.