In the opening pages of Hilton Als’s memoir My Pinup: A Paean to Prince (New Directions, 2022), the Pulitzer Prize–winning author reflects upon a confessional joke in Jamie Foxx’s 2002 stand-up special, I Might Need Security, in which the comic meets the iconic musician Prince for the first time and is so overcome that he can’t look him in the eye. “Being enthralled—or, more accurately, frightened and turned on by Prince and what his various looks said about an aspect of black male sexuality—was that something only comedians could talk about?” writes Als. Inspired by this reflection, write a personal essay about an encounter with an icon who shifted something within yourself. What excited or frightened you?
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