A Woman Named Cat

A number of dancers did their sexy dance alongside Prince throughout his career. However, only one woman holds the moniker as the first. Her name is Catherine “Cat” Glover. Sometimes dismissively described by critics as a foil or backup dancer, Cat’s presence was far more significant. She was not only the first female dancer to join Prince’s band, she was also the first non-mixed race black woman prominently featured in Prince’s camp. Beyond being a captivating dancer and representation of black beauty, Cat was in many ways a physical manifestation of Prince’s feminine side. Together they represented the wholeness of Lovesexy’s spiritual awareness and exhibited a magnetic energy. In a world where the aesthetic treatment of black female bodies is still questionable, Cat’s representation of uninhibited and empowered femininity presented an image of black women not widely seen today, let alone in 1988. Despite being overlooked by mainstream media, Cat Glover is an important part of Prince’s legacy. Style can be individual, cultural, or political. Cat’s presence in the Prince camp represented all three. This presentation will explore the significance of her role in Lovesexy.

Kamilah Cummings

Kamilah Cummings is a writer, editor, and visiting lecturer in writing and communications at DePaul University School for New Learning in Chicago. She is a lifelong follower of Prince. In addition to presenting at Purple Reign, the first academic conference on Prince, she has developed the course Prince: Introduction of a New Breed Leader, an interdisciplinary course that explores Prince’s legacy as a leader. She also has two forthcoming publications on Prince.  A lover of House music as well, she recently presented on House music at the Black Portraitures IV conference. She also teaches her original course The House Chicago Built, which explores House music and culture. She has presented and published domestically and internationally on topics exploring support for nontraditional adult student writers in higher education. Her research interests also include exploring the intersections of media, pop culture and identity with a particular focus on representations and constructions of black identity.