Vanity, the Black Beauty From 80s Film “The Last Dragon” Died in 2016 From Kidney Failure

Vanity from Last Dragon

Denise Katrina Matthews, better known as Vanity from the hit Motown-produced film The Last Dragon, was a multitalented performer born on January 4, 1959, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. She was a singer, actor, and model who first gained prominence as a model in Canada before moving to the United States to further her career.

In the 1980s, Vanity toured with Prince, who she had met at the American Music Awards in 1980. She joined Vanity 6, an erotically charged girl group that toured with Prince and scored a hit with "Nasty Girl" in 1982. She also appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone with Prince, in a portrait taken by Richard Avedon, which caused controversy due to the suggestive pose.

In addition to her music career, Vanity also appeared in movies and television shows such as "52 Pick-Up," "Last Dragon," and "Never Too Young to Die." Despite being offered the leading female role in "Purple Rain," the semi-autobiographical Prince movie that became a box-office success in 1984, she declined the part. Instead, she released two solo albums on Motown, "Wild Animal" and "Skin on Skin," and continued to perform in lingerie, embracing her provocative image.

Vanity's life took a significant turn when she was diagnosed with renal failure. Doctors informed her that she only had three days to live, which prompted her to turn her life around. She converted to Christianity, changed her name from Vanity, and became an ordained minister. She published an autobiography in 1999 titled "Blame It On Vanity." In a personal website, she admitted to having a life "painted on her face" and that she had been "extremely wild" in her youth. She also spoke candidly about her past drug use and its near-fatal consequences.

On Monday, February 15, 2016, during the Grammy Awards, news of Vanity's death spread, and musicians expressed their condolences online. She passed away at the age of 57 on Monday in Fremont, California, after years of kidney-related health issues. Renay Matthews, her sister, confirmed the news of her death. Vanity will always be remembered for her unique talent, unforgettable image, and her remarkable life story.