The Artist formerly Known as Prince was a journalistic creation, formed after he changed his name to an unpronouncable glyph. The (almost demeaning) moniker stuck, as it were, and has served as a minor point of confusion since. The symbol he changed his name to came to him in a bout of meditation.

It did serve some legal use, however. It was negotiating fodder when he wanted to break out of his contract with Warner Brothers. He did not want to work for that company any more, and through a loophole in his contract associated with his new unpronouncable name, some shrewd bargaining, and down-right stubborness, his lawyers got him out of his contract with Warner Brothers after a couple of albums. (He was going to reach into his library of pre-recorded material anyway, he was quite sick of Warner brothers).

Many fans and other sites, simply referred to him as The Artist during these years, to omit the demeaning connotation associated with the title. This performer, born Prince Roger Nelson, is now simply Prince again.
Here is said symbol:
               HBBBBBBBB   BBBBBBBB               
              BBBBBB           BBBBBk             
              BBBBB             BBBBB             
             BBBBB              BBBBB0            
             BBBBB              BBBBB,            
             ,BBBBB            PBBBBm            E
              kBBBBBB        kBBBBBB          mBBB
                mBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB        0BBBBBB 
   BBBBB,N             BBBBB                   BB 
 XBBB                  BBBBB                    w 
EBE                    BBBBB                      
BB  BBBBBB0       BB  BBBBBBN PB                  
,BB BBB  BB       BBBBBBBBBBBBBB                  
 BBBBBBBBBk       BB  BBBBBBB PB                  
                    XB BBBBBkHM                   
As you can see, it's clearly meant to suggest androgyny. It's a sort of stylized combination of the Mars (spear and shield) and Venus (mirror) symbols. As for the curly thing...I guess it's just meant to look cool. Maybe it represents Prince's The Artist's makes everyone's life difficult his hair. It also sort of looks like an ankh.

Basically, he just made up some crap that was vaguely reminiscent of some other crap. It is, in a word, crap.

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