*In a 2014 interview with Essence magazine, Prince revealed that boxer Muhammad Ali, who died last Friday, inspired his no-swearing policy. Before handing his life and approach to his art over to Jehovah, Prince was known for his resonating sexually suggestive songs — including “Darling Nikki.” NME dug up his Essence magazine chat, in which Prince talks about being inspired by the legendary boxer.
“Marsha Ambrosius, Lianne La Havas and Janelle Monae are all my sisters. We shouldn’t curse at them,” Prince said, referring to some of his collaborators. “We need to treat them, and all people, like royalty. Did you ever hear Muhammad Ali curse? Would you curse in front of your kids or to your mother?”
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Prince and Ali first met in June 1997 at a press conference announcing a benefit concert to promote international harmony and tolerance. Prince called the boxer his “hero,” and shared the moment he received a call from their mutual friend who informed him that Ali required his assistance.
“My friend called me a couple of days ago and asked me — he said, Muhammad wants you to and I said ‘Yes.’ I didn’t even let him finish. He could have said, ‘Mow the lawn,’ and I would have been down with it,” Prince told BBC reporters. “Muhammad’s my hero. He has been since I was a child.”
According to their mutual friend David Clark, “Muhammad told Prince he wanted to show him a special trick — Muhammad then got up and pretended to levitate. Prince said ‘That’s nothing’ and jumped up on the table and pretended to be doing the same trick.”
Prince also attacked major record labels during his Essence interview, saying: “Every time I talk to the heads of large companies, they’re always at the beach,” he said. “Middle of the afternoon. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Oh, I’m at the beach with my kids.’ So we’re working to send their kids to college. And to the beach. We’re not supposed to accept that.”
Watch the clip below of Prince and Ali’s press conference: