Once a Prince muse, always a Prince muse. Model Damaris Lewis met Prince in 2010 after receiving a strange call from his manager: An unnamed artist wanted to meet her. The end. Lewis agreed, and weeks later, Prince invited her on his Welcome 2 Australia tour (after she said no to an earlier invitation to join his Welcome 2 America tour). The dancer was listed as “muse” in the program, and the rest is history. “Ever since that tour, I’ve been listed as ‘muse,’” Lewis tells The Root.
Lewis would continue to tour with the musical icon and even became the subject for one of his songs. “‘Black Muse.’ He wrote that for me,” says Lewis.
A year after Prince’s death, Lewis is still grieving and is reminded of her own humanity. “In any situation, when your friend passes on, and they go to the next realm, it is hard,” Lewis says. “Really understanding that I’m allowed to feel my emotions; I’m allowed to feel sad and happy and frustrated and crying because I’m human.”
Prince was a beloved friend and mentor, but mentorship and service has been a strong theme throughout Lewis’ life. “At a very young age, I saw what it meant to have people that are older than you looking out for you,” she says. And Lewis has felt an obligation to give back.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., native is a Boys & Girls Club alum and is also on the advisory board of the Garden of Dreams Foundation. This year the organization has teamed up with Macy’s, Men’s Warehouse and Tracy Reese to execute this year’s Garden of Dreams Prom for underserved youths. Like the icon, Lewis shares a concern for the next generation in hopes that it not just carries on but thrives.
“When you take any love you have and you put it outside of your body, especially if it’s geared towards Prince, that is continuing his legacy,” she says.
In honor of the life and legacy of the incomparable Prince, we sat down with his “Black Muse,” Damaris Lewis. See the entire interview above.