Vanity, who was the lead singer of the ’80s girl group Vanity 6, has died at the age of 57 after years of battling kidney failure and an abdominal illness in a Fremont, CA hospital. Born Denise Katrina Matthews, she’d been diagnosed with sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis, an inflammation of the small intestines. In the ’90s she battled an addiction to crack cocaine which damaged her kidneys to the point where she needed daily dialysis treatments.
Best known for her work in the girl group Vanity 6, a trio assembled by Prince, the group’s sound was a meld of R&B, pop and dance music. Their single “Nasty Girl” was a massive hit and appeared in movies including Beverly Hills Cop. Vanity signed a record deal with Motown Records in 1984 and recorded two solo albums, Wild Animal and Skin on Skin. She later released solo albums on A&M and Geffen Records. After a kidney transplant in 1997, she decided to devote her life to evangelism and began using her given name. On her GoFundMe page she noted, “Prior to finding my Lord and Savior I lived in the bottomless pit of Hollywood’s deception. Lust, drugs Rock n Roll….i was living in the depths of iniquity versed with carnality and suicidal thoughts of leaving this world… I am Denise! no longer Vanity for the name means WORTHLESSNES…we are not worthless.”