Before Beyoncé fell ‘Drunk in Love’ or Ciara showed us how she ‘Rides.’ Denise Matthews aka Vanity, was the original ‘Nasty Girl’. While his ‘Royal Badness’ was singing about his sexual exploits in the 80's’ and Prince put Vanity’s face on his voice. Vanity pioneered female pleasure in music when it was still taboo to do so. The lead of Vanity 6, she was drop dead gorgeous, flaunted her curves in lingerie, and sang about doing it on a limousine floor. 

Matthews went on to star and record a song on the soundtrack for the film, The Last Dragon. Though her star faded, she had been romantically connected to Prince and said he was the only man she ever loved.
For many years Matthews struggled with drugs and even admitted to being addicted to crack cocaine. In 1994, the singer reportedly overdosed and was told by a doctor that she only had three days to live while on life support. During her time in the hospital, she said that Jesus appeared to her, offering to save her if she gave up her persona, Vanity. Matthews gave her life to Christ, and was born-again. “When I came to the Lord Jesus Christ, I threw out about 1000 tapes of mine – interview, every tape, every video. Everything.”

The former lead singer passed away on February 15, 2016 at the age of 57, after complications with kidney disease. Celebrities including MC Hammer took to twitter to respond to her death. “Today my friend & Sister Denise Katrina Matthews aka #Vanity passed away. She absolutely loved GOD unto salvation. Rest in his Glory.” Sheila E, also a former Prince protégé, also took to twitter to say her goodbyes. “SADDEN my FRIEND IN CHRIST gone 2day. Vanity, Denise Matthews. MISS YOU DEARLY. U ARE IN HIS ARMS NOW, NO Pain.”


Although on tour, once Prince found out about her death he gave Denise a special tribute at his concert in Melbourne. Prince dedicated his song “Little Red Corvette” to her. He followed by saying,  “Her and I used to love each other deeply. She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong cause she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”

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