What’s Your Color?

In the early 90s, Prince wrote a song called “Color,” a song that is important during this month of March because it was as close to a manifesto about communicating with color as Prince ever wrote. Given that Prince was somewhat color-obsessed during his long and prolific songwriting career (“Purple Rain,” “Raspberry Beret,” “Gold,” “Cream”), it makes sense that he attempted to synthesize those feelings into a song.

In “Color,” he equates colors with emotions (“Color me green if I cannot have what u’ve got / Color me blue until I do, ‘cuz the fire will sho’ ’nuff be hot.”). and in the final verses, turns the song into a call for unity (“What’s your color? Make it love.”). I’m not sure the song is as successful as the concept for the lyrics, and maybe that’s why it was shelved for a couple of years after it was recorded in 1992, finally appearing on 1994’s 1-800-NEW-FUNK, a compilation of music largely written and produced by Prince and recorded by other Paisley Park Records / NPG Records artists. The song was recorded by Jevetta, Fred, J.D. and Jearlyn Steele, four members of a family group consisting of five siblings who grew up in Gary, Indiana singing together before eventually settling in Minnesota. (From 1989 to 1994, the Steeles, either as a group or individually, sang on various Prince releases).

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