Black Buddhist scholar Pamela Ayo Yetunde is set to publish a nonfiction book about the legendary American singer and musician Prince, exploring his spiritual background. Titled Prince: The Preacher in the Boudoir, the book will be published by Broadleaf in spring 2025.
Prince Rogers Nelson was an award-winning American singer, songwriter, and musician, who released a number of famous albums during the 1980s and is widely regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his time. His music incorporated a wide variety of styles, including funk, R&B, rock, new wave, soul, synth-pop, pop, jazz, blues, and hip hop. You might have heart of some of his famous songs such as Purple Rain and Little Red Corvette.
Yetunde’s Prince: The Preacher in the Boudoir will reveal the spiritual background of Prince’s musical work, which is not something that is super well known. She will also explain how his art can teach us all how to live our best spiritual life. Sounds like a great read for fans of Prince and spirituality alike!
In an interview, Yetunde states the importance of viewing Prince not just as a musician but also a theologian, since some of his songs have a sermon-like quality:
That’s the importance of it: everyone can do this work. But we’ve thought of this work as only being done by men in ivory towers, who have had a certain kind of spiritual formation in a certain kind of religion, who are reading and writing about it. And for some reason I don’t know why that’s the only thing that’s been considered theology. Why isn’t writing music as valid as writing an article or an essay? Why isn’t playing the guitar in a certain way that strikes a particular chord within your body and embodying spirituality as valid as hearing a sermon and being moved by it? When Prince starts a song “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to get through this thing called life…”[…] that is a sermon within a song. Because he hasn’t been considered widely as contributing to theological discourse, that’s why I think this initiative that we’re doing is important.
Pamela Ayo Yetunde is a pastoral and spiritual counselor, professor, and writer. Yetunde earned a M.A. from Holy Names University, a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law–Bloomington, a Th.D. from Columbia Theological Seminary, and did her post-doctoral research at Harvard Divinity School.
She wrote Casting Indra’s Net: Fostering Spiritual Kinship and Community and co-edited Nautilus Book Award-winning Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us about Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom with Cheryl A. Giles. Yetunde is also the author of the Frederick J. Streng Award-winning Buddhist-Christian Dialogue, U.S. Law, and Womanist Theology for Transgender Spiritual Care.
Congrats to Yetunde!