- The Washington Times - Monday, February 15, 2016

The lead singer of the Prince protege group Vanity 6 died Monday after battling kidney disease for years.

The 57-year-old Vanity, who was born Denise Katrina Matthews and disassociated herself from the “Vanity” persona since the mid-1990s, had also battled digestive woes in recent years.

According to TMZ, she told her church Saturday evening that she was “ready to go home” to God.

She died at a hospital in California decades after quitting show business following a brief period of fame in the mid-1980s under the tutelage of Prince.

Vanity 6’s biggest hit was the 1982 song “Nasty Girl,” which made the Top 10 on the R&B chart and was a No. 1 dance hit.

Vanity herself quit the group to pursue a solo and acting career. She had one hit that made the Top 10 on both the R&B and dance charts, 1986’s “Under the Influence.”

She also landed feature roles in movies such as “The Last Dragon” and “Action Jackson,” plus several guest-star roles on TV.

During that period, Vanity became addicted to crack, an overdose of which ruined her kidneys and forced her into frequent dialysis. She became a born-again Christian and quit show business to stay away from such influences in the 1990s.

“When I came to the Lord Jesus Christ, I threw out about 1,000 tapes of mine — every interview, every tape, every video. Everything,” she said in a later interview.

Matthews came to Prince’s attention in 1981 while she was a nude model and the Minneapolis star was looking for females for a backing group that he first wanted to call The Hookers and have perform in lingerie. He reportedly also asked Matthews to change her name to “Vagina,” but she declined, suggesting “Vanity” herself.

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