Crossing the Line: Lovesexy Viewed as Prince’s First Major Declaration of Christian Faith

“Sexuality is all I’ll ever need,” Prince sang in 1981, expressing a sex-based spirituality whereby sexual freedom was viewed as the key to individual and societal liberation. That philosophy was the focus of his early albums, as the artist broke barriers with his sexually forward lyrics and image. However, as he gradually employed Christian references in his art (e.g. “The Lord’s Prayer,” “The Second Coming,”), he openly struggled to reconcile his sacred and sexual sides.

A turning point occurred when Prince pulled the dark, sexual Black Album and replaced it with the upbeat, spiritual Lovesexy project in 1988. The music contains Prince’s most direct exaltation of Jesus Christ up to that point in his career; specific views on the afterworld and the devil; encouragement of sexuality rooted in spirituality; and an emphasis on spirituality above sexuality. The accompanying Lovesexy tour represented Prince’s spiritual rebirth via the staged killing of his sexual alter ego Camille.

This presentation outlines the points above through an analysis of the era’s songs, videos and live performances; a study of the artist’s media coverage; and new interviews the presenter conducted with Prince’s friends, colleagues and acquaintances. There will also be a brief exploration of Prince’s spiritual journey pre- and post-Lovesexy.

Erica Thompson

Erica Thompson is an assistant editor at Columbus Alive, a weekly arts and community magazine serving central Ohio. She received Ohio Excellence in Journalism awards in 2017 and 2018 from the Press Club of Cleveland for her reporting.

Her articles have appeared in Billboard magazine and on She also wrote for Sister 2 Sister magazine before the publication folded in 2014. She has interviewed numerous high-profile celebrities such as Dionne Warwick, Larry Graham, Anthony Hamilton, Chilli, Monica and Wyclef Jean.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Thompson has a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio University’s acclaimed E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, where she completed her thesis on Prince. She was invited to present her research on Prince’s spirituality at “Purple Reign: An interdisciplinary conference on the life and legacy of Prince” at the University of Salford, UK, and the “Prince from Minneapolis” symposium at the University of Minnesota.