Erica Thompson

Erica Thompson is the Ohio regional business reporter covering race, gender, and the economy for the Columbus Dispatch and the USA Today Network. Her articles have also appeared on,,,, and She has been awarded by the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association for Black Journalists for her reporting.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Thompson has a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio University’s acclaimed E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, where she completed her thesis on Prince. She was invited to present her research on Prince’s spirituality at Purple Reign: An interdisciplinary conference on the life and legacy of Prince at the University of Salford, UK; the Prince from Minneapolis symposium at the University of Minnesota; the Prince EYE NO: Lovesexy symposium at New York University (NYU), the virtual Prince #DM40GB30 symposium at NYU and the virtual Prince #1plus1plus1is3 symposium at NYU.

She has been published in Theology and Prince, an edited collection on theology and the life, music, and films of Prince Rogers Nelson. She is currently finishing her first book, a comprehensive study of Prince’s spiritual journey.

Erica Thompson

‘Why All the Cosmic Talk?’: Looking for Spiritual Truth on Prince’s Love Symbol Album

Creation myths. Reincarnation references. Egyptian soulmates. Prince’s 1992 Love Symbol album is packed with so many spiritual ideas, it can be difficult for the listener to determine his true beliefs. Is he the Jesus-loving purist of the late-80s Lovesexy era? A Hinduism convert? A student of Egyptology? 

This presentation attempts to answer those questions by analyzing the lyrics and imagery of the musical period. It shows that Prince grounded his faith in monotheism, but expanded his view to include aspects of other spiritual systems. He utilized Biblical scripture more as a storytelling device than a proclamation of Christian-centered beliefs. The only consistent message is his framing of his romance with Mayte Garcia as an event designed by fate. He would go on to describe his future wife as being a conduit to God, and the Love Symbol—his future name—as a unity of the male and female, and thus “the perfect love.” Therefore, Prince’s Love Symbol album ultimately conveys that the highest spiritual truth is love.