The passing away of Canadian singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and model turned Evangelist, Denise Katrina Matthews better known between 1980 and 1997 as Vanity has left very few unstirred. The artist, once Prince’s protege in the 80s, cut off from the music and performing arts industries in 1997, even refusing to get any royalties from her artistic work after a near-fatal overdose. She became a born-again Christian and an evangelist after her kidney transplant, taking her witnessing around the USA and the world. It was reported that she was in constant pain, having to go through peritoneal dialysis (a process of removing waste and water from the blood as would normally be done by your kidney) five times a day! She had been battling with kidney problems for quite some time from her past drug abuse when she died on February 15th, 2016 of a renal failure. She was only 57 years old.
Hip Hop artist O-Starz, a good friend of Denise Matthews, was ravaged by this loss. Called to pay tribute to a woman who has inspired him away from the dark path down which he had been wandering, he delivered a heartfelt homage to Denise Matthews. This was an hour-long online tribute, a very emotional stream to witness. Yet, the intricate guitar playing and beautiful singing was well worth the emotional overhaul. If one could actually feel a person’s pain, this was it. With his eyes drowned in tears, he strummed aggressively, as if to regain some control, as he rapped and sang his heart out.
O-Starz credits Ms. Matthews with getting him through deep depression and suicide. He also credits her as being the only positive influence in his life. “Denise changed me for the better. I was on the wrong path and she never gave up on me. I was doing a lot of wrong, but she didn’t judge me. For that I’m forever grateful.” With that being said, one can’t help but understand why her death has taken a toll on him. With lyrics like “There’s no more sunshine/There’s no more moon/There’s no more green grass/The sky is no longer blue/There goes my happiness/I feel consumed/ If I know anything/I know I miss you.”, he describes the detail and depth of his sadness.
— O-Starz (@therealostarz) 26 February 2016
There is no doubt, that more than anyone, she understood him and channelled his feelings. Her own life, under the glitter of stardom, hid a cocaine addiction which affected her health through “high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blood clots to the brain” and more, so much so that the doctors left her only three days to live. It is only evident that such experience that she relates in her book appropriately titled “Blame it on Vanity” strikes a chord with those who recognise a path and are, without prejudice, warned of the consequences. After surviving those 3 days and beyond, Matthews turned to evangelism, dedicating her new life to speaking publicly about her drug abuse, suicidal depressions and abused childhood. Her testimony opens eyes to a world beyond the polished face of Hollywood and continued to speak to the likes of O-Starz, kindling a light of hope within that they had thought forever switched off.
And so, remembering Evangelist Denise Matthews also brought words of joy. “No more pain/I can smile now/I know you feel great.”
O-Starz plans on uploading the tribute for all who missed out on the live stream. You can follow O-Starz on Twitter and Instagram @therealostarz