“Walk Don’t Walk” kicks off a more frivolous section of Diamonds and Pearls. The album already has an air of frivolity to it, yet in a meaningful way; its lightness goes hand-in-hand with its confidence, freshness, and style. “Walk Don’t Walk” is sort of anti-frivolity in the sense that it’s trying to impart some words of wisdom to us listeners, to encourage us to follow our own path, to not be afraid of being bold enough to talk to strangers, to enter their space and at the same time walk our own way.
At least that seems to be the message. Prince and Rosie Gaines engage in a back-and-forth exchange of instructions; most of them turn out to be directions coming from society, messages we should ignore. “They” want you to walk with everyone else, to walk without confidence, (to “walk like you could use a ride”), to shut up until spoken to, to play the fool.