Friday 16 June, 2023

Grace Jones :: The Artists Icon

‘I’m a born-alone, die-alone, sing-alone kind of girl.’ – Grace Jones The first opportunity to see Grace Jones came at Lovebox in 2013, seeing little of the opening song and leaving because it was Fathers day, there was a dinner to attend. It must have been the right decision because years later here arrives a […]

'I'm a born-alone, die-alone, sing-alone kind of girl.’ - Grace Jones

The first opportunity to see Grace Jones came at Lovebox in 2013, seeing little of the opening song and leaving because it was Fathers day, there was a dinner to attend. It must have been the right decision because years later here arrives a better opportunity. Smaller setting, great sound and the in person visual is undeniable, thank you Hampton Court Festival.

Her volcanic groove is felt watching her during the opening song, feeling through her performance in expressive faceless movements her entrance erupts, announcing a Goddesses arrival. She is wearing a golden skull mask, black corset with a g-string, draped in a hooded flowing black sleeved shawl, arm warmers, leather leg warmers and standing in at least 4 inch stiletto shoes. The base of several additional outfits throughout the evening. It is this that helps make Grace Jones the ultimate fashion icon. Being able to wear designer stiletto shoes is a goal that a very small percentage will achieve in later years, performing in these shoes at 75, impossible. 

Who wears couture better? If she keeps up whatever determination she has to embody optimum at any age, especially at 75, she will continue to be revered and her audiences mouths continue to be left agape.

Her statuesque physical is toned, sexy, edgy, funky, force of nature-full, she moves in many forms. From delicate, vulnerable, to steadfast, prowl and even growl like. The transitions between these are powerful and her songs stories fully enhanced. 

Since Grace Jones first launched into modelling she has pushed back on the traditional beauty ideals of the time and been encompassed largely outside the realms of the main hub of society. Evolved her noes into yeses, by understanding where her tribe can be found and where there was acceptance to do what she wanted to do. 

Patriarchal village minds have set her aside as undesired, crazy, masculine; traditionalism, the colonial mindset and patriarchy is still existing and a very prevalent cause for this view. 

Grace Jones is embodying neither gender she embodies what she feels, she is certainly all divine feminine. She demonstrates every part of being a human woman that we have to draw from living in this world. More so for women who look like her.

The Russel Harty interview where she experienced being painted as unhinged, set aside consistently and subsequently physically hit back. In todays eyes we can clearly see that action as symbolic of the large annoyances put upon her to hold her space in this world and be received how she wishes to be. 

“I was meant to sit next to Russell Harty and keep still and quiet. I was all dressed up like an Amazonian seductress, and treated like the hired help. I thought, This is no way to treat a guest. This wasn’t at all like what we’d rehearsed. Being stuck there while he ignored me made me feel very uncomfortable.”

The show tried to get her back after slap-gate, for ratings, but Grace Jones is no-ones fool.

A woman who has achieved exceptionalism in the arts, a quadruple threat, actress, musician, model, dancer. A modern woman throughout her artistic time, more understood in the mainstream world in 2023. As are many powerful change-making women at that time.

It would be correct to call her an Artists Icon, yet somehow still only named 82nd on VH1s greatest women in rock n roll. Which artists did they ask??

The modelling years have aided her movement, during her show there are so many great visual shots to capture in her performance. A photographer and videographers dream. The expressions, her feeling evokes such expression within her and in the audience, you can feel her music as she performs it without the sound.

The audience were a mixture of big fans, some arrived with Grace inspired clothes, couples, music aficionados and locals that happened upon a Grace Jones for the first time. The Surrey contingent were out in force. The energy of the crowed wowed into delight with each change of stage wear, each song, each performance, each -how at her age?- move. Grace's humorous window into her world interaction and into the finalé, where she was carried into the audience while they sang ‘Pull Up to My Bumper’.

Bums were lifted from their seats throughout the performance.

If ever there was an artist to allow music performance to catch on in virtual reality, Grace Jones is that artist. The VR performance would be continuously marvelled at long after she stops performing. 

Grace Jones’ hey day is still here and she is still performing at the top of her game. She is older, not old and far from an O.A.P.

As she moved fully in Grace around that stage, my mind went to one of my favourite mentors who embodies that emboldened character and ability to do anything at any age. How much she must have been inspired by Grace Jones. How many more ‘all the possibilities’ thinking women from her column inched time have been inspired by Grace Jones?

She received flowers at the end of her performance, at least the physical flowers are there though largely we are still yet to recognise and laud this artist in the way she deserves. ‘A Gay Icon’ is penned around, how about just Icon. 

A first, up there with the very best, an original, an impossible, an everything is possible, once.

Perhaps this tour will introduce her to a young dynamic audience that have the tenacity to share, elevate and ensure her name among the greats.  

As a side note Grace Jones performances should perhaps come with a disclaimer, thinking about all the people feeling their years that went home that night and attempted a move they wouldn’t usually do under the guise, ‘if Grace Jones can do it..’ 

See Grace Jones at the Festivals this summer: UK Love Supreme 2nd July 2023 and Camp Bestival 29th July 2023

Slave To The Rhythm
Williams Blood

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