Alexander O’Neal Tells ‘Foul’ Way Prince Kicked Him Out Of Group & How Jam & Lewis Saved Him
Back when R&B legend, Alexander O’Neal, was the lead singer for The Time (formerly called Flyte Time) -the band Prince formulated- he said he was kicked to the curb for a very biased reason. He also made no qualms about his disdain for the way he said Prince handled the situation. In addition to that, O’Neal also revealed who else reportedly betrayed him and the hurt he felt as a result of their actions. Scroll down to check out the details he gave in his interview with Blues And Soul, years prior to Prince’s passing.
He Was Too Dark Or Too Complicated?!!
According to O’Neal, he was presumably kicked outta the group for being too opionated, while others around him believe it was because Prince felt that he was too dark skinned to be the lead singer. Thus, replacing him with a lighter hued brotha, Morris Day.
Alexander’ O’Neal: “Flyte Tyme was a wonderful band, and I felt we were on our way to getting a national deal. You know, I’d been picked to be the lead singer in a group owned by Prince; we’d started recording at Prince’s house… But then I got kicked out the band before I got kicked IN! Some people said it was because I was too black in skin pigmentation. But I still think it was because I was opinionated. I’d started showing I could think and started asking questions about the financial arrangements. But, you know, to be kicked out was heart-breaking.
Why He Felt Betrayed & Didn’t Respect Prince’s Decision
O’Neal explained how hurt and betrayed he felt after learning that the other members, including legendary producer duo, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, were rehearsing presumably with the new lead singer, Morris Day, without telling him he was fired.
AO: “And the main thing I couldn’t respect about it was that Prince hadn’t been man enough to tell me. Because, all of a sudden, Flyte Tyme started rehearsing behind my back so they could become `The Time` without me! And all this time we were still doing gigs together! You know, they’d suddenly start mixing these new songs into the set and I’d be like ‘Where’s THIS coming from?’!”
Lewis eventually came clean with O’Neal:
AO:”And the only one out of all of them with the balls to tell me what was happening was Terry Lewis! But, though when I got the news I was really hurt, a lotta times good things come out of a bad situation. And that was just fuel for the fire for me!”
How Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis Ultimately Saved O’Neal’s Career…After Prince Fired Them Too
According to O’Neal, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were responsible for saving his career and staying true to a promise they’d made him after they had also gotten fired by Prince.
AO: “Because I felt that, if I was good enough to even be CONSIDERED for a group by Prince, then I must be good enough for the music industry! And, when Jimmy (Jam) and Terry (Lewis) came home from LA one summer night – after THEY’D got kicked outta The Time by Prince – they came into this club I was performing at in downtown Minneapolis and were like ‘Alex, when we get our plans off the ground we’re gonna get you a record deal’. And that’s exactly what they DID!”
Wow…if Alexander O’Neal’s story is accurate, that was cold the way Prince let him go, but you never know, Prince may have had a different recollection of the way things went down. For example, O’Neal never made it a secret, that he’s battled with drug addiction for 30+ years, so could that have been a contributing factor in this scenario as well? Who knows? We certainly don’t, but it is worth mentioning. Now, if Prince simply fired him for being a dark skinned brotha, then that’s just foul. Nonetheless, we appreciate Alexander O’Neal for being so open about this and we wish him much continued success with his music.
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