‘They dress up as though they are challenging the status quo, but by now, wearing those clothes – that is the status quo’
It’s hard to argue with Grace Jones. As one of music’s most original thinkers, with more than enough off-the-wall outfits and iconic albums to prove it, she is an outsider who has remained true to an outsider vision. While Miley Cyrus was wearing baubles at the VMAs, Grace Jones was busy hula-hooping, completely topless and covered in paint while singing the entirety of "Slave to the Rhythm". And she’s 67. The world needs another Grace Jones, but they’re a little hard to come by.
In an excerpt from her upcoming autobiography I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, the music icon explains that some of the biggest pop stars need to challenge the status quo and have long-term vision, which she believes they currently lack. “Rihanna… she does the body-painting thing I did with Keith Haring, but where he painted directly on my body, she wears a painted bodysuit. That’s the difference. Mine is on skin; she puts a barrier between the paint and her skin. I don’t even know if she knows that what she’s doing comes from me, but I bet you the people styling her know. They know the history.”
“I am okay not worrying about a new audience. If the fuck don’t feel right, don’t fuck it” – Grace Jones
“I remember when one of the singers on the list of those who came after me first said that she wanted to work with me. Everyone around me is going: ‘You have to do it, it will be so good for you, it will introduce you to a whole new audience, you will make a lot of money’. No! It will be good for her; she will draw from everything I have built and add it to her brand, and I will get nothing back except for a little temporary attention. No one could believe that I said no, but I am okay on my own. I am okay not worrying about a new audience. If the fuck don’t feel right, don’t fuck it.”
“The problem with the Doris’ and the Nicki Minaj’s and Miley’s is that they reach their goal very quickly. There is no long-term vision, and they forget that once you get into that whirlpool then you have to fight the system that solidifies around you in order to keep being the outsider you claim you represent. There will always be a replacement coming along very soon – a newer version, a crazier version, a louder version. So if you haven’t got a long-term plan, then you are merely a passing phase, the latest trend, yesterday’s event.”
“They dress up as though they are challenging the status quo, but by now, wearing those clothes, pulling those faces, revealing those tattoos and breasts, singing to those fractured, spastic, melting beats – that is the status quo. You are not off the beaten track, pushing through the thorny undergrowth, finding treasure no one has come across before. You are in the middle of the road. You are really in Vegas wearing the sparkly full-length gown singing to people who are paying to see you but are not really paying attention. If that is what you want, fine, but it’s a road to nowhere.”
Read the entire excerpt from Time Out here.