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Tracy Chapman Never Talked about Her Sexuality but Dated 20-Year-Older Pulitzer Prize Winner Alice Walker - Meet Her

Joe Akins
Sep 10, 2021
09:00 A.M.
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Tracy Chapman and Alice Walker managed to have a romantic relationship in a time when such was not acknowledged as a societal norm. Here is more about their relationship.


Alice Walker is a world-renowned novelist and poet; she is also a Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of the famous novel “The Color Purple.”

The African American poet was born to a family of sharecroppers and attained fame when her novel “The Color Purple” won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1983, which later went on to have a movie adaptation.

Singer Tracy Chapman Attends a Promotional Photoshoot for her New Album "Let It Rain" at Santo Mauro Hotel in Central Madrid | Photo: Getty Images


She was born on February 9, 1944, in the city of Georgia. Walker was from an impoverished family and is the youngest of eight children. Her mother made her earnings from menial house jobs to support the family.


After a BB pellet incident that occurred when she was 8 years old, Walker developed a deformity in her right eye that led her to have self-esteem issues.

Tracy Chapman at the 2009 Cactus Festival in Bruges, Belgium on 10 July 2009 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons By © Hans Hillewaert, CC BY-SA 4.0


The incident made her self-conscious, and she isolated herself from the world around her. Reading and writing became her solace during this period, and she once said about it:

“For a long time, I thought I was very ugly and disfigured. This made me shy and timid, and I often reacted to insults and slights that were not intended.”

Alice Walker attends the "The Color Purple" Broadway Opening Night at The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on December 10, 2015 | Photo: Getty Images



Walker attended a segregated school in the south and graduated from high school as a class valedictorian. She was offered a scholarship to study at Spelman College in Atlanta but later transferred to Lawrence College in New York.

She visited Africa due to a study abroad program, graduated in 1965, and published her first story that same year. She was also involved in the civil rights movement after her College years, where she fought for equality for all races, especially African Americans.

Alice Walker , Best known for her novel 'The Color Purple', poses for portrait at home in San Francisco in January, 1985 | Photo: Getty Images



Walker is known for her multiple published books like “Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970),” “In Love and Trouble,” “Revolutionary Petunias,” and many more. She lived a relatively quiet life until her relationship with Tracy Chapman was brought into the limelight.


In 2006, Walker sat down with The Guardian and was asked about her relationship with Chapman that occurred in the mid-1990s. She was 20 years old at that time.


When asked how she felt about the relationship, Walker stated that she loved it and although she was told at the time that coming out to acknowledge her relationship with Chapman would have made a social impact, the author replied:

“I would never do that, my life is not meant to be somebody’s impact.”

She described how beautiful and amazing her relationship with Chapman was and how she enjoyed it but didn’t feel the need to tell anyone because it was solely their business.

Author Alice Walker, and Oprah Winfrey at the curtain call for "The Color Purple" at the Broadway Theater on December 1, 2005 in New York City | Photo : Getty Images


The two shared their love of art and poetry, and Chapman mentioned that she grew up reading books. Even after everything, Chapman never openly disclosed her sexual orientation.


Tracy Chapman is an African American artist known for hit songs like “Baby can I hold you,” “Crossroads,” “New Beginning,” and many other songs. She is a highly acclaimed artist who recently celebrated her 57th birthday on March 30th, 2021.

Alice Walker attends Seattle International Film Festival world premiere of "Alice Walker:Beauty In Truth" at Egyptian Theater, Seattle on May 31, 2013 in Seattle, Washington | Photo: Getty Images


The songwriter began writing and performing music in Boston and got her big break in 1986 when she was introduced to Elektra Records' manager.

She recorded the album “Tracy Chapman” in (1988) and the album's most popular single, “Fast Car,” was number 5 on U.K. charts.

She later went on to release “New Beginning.” Chapman still maintains a busy life as an activist, and she speaks and performs on behalf of various help organizations at events.