Written by: Sean Bardoo from SeanBproductions
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Moving to New York City from the Caribbean in the Fall of 2001, it took me seconds to realize that the best spoken, “Exhibitionist,” and attention grabber woman interviewed for NBC morning show was a Jamaican. Her name was Grace Jones. She immediately triggered personal nostalgia within me, it’s a vindication: and reminded me, why I chose to relocate to the United States and selected New York for the equal rights afforded to everyone. As New York City is the mecca of diversity for; Visual and Performing Arts, Fashion and Individual creativity where it’s normal to freely express oneself.
Grace Jones was born in the Caribbean island of Jamaica; and studied theater at Syracuse University. She is a celebrity famous for her work as a model, singer, and actress. Many people continue to either criticize, love, or admire her. As she has an outlandish flamboyant; persona, distinct ethnic features, unique fashion attire, one-of-a-kind accent blended with Jamaican & British intonation.
Grace started her career in the 1970’s first as a model with the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency in New York; and later relocated to Paris as the United States designers never fully embraced her beauty as a model. While working in Paris, her career skyrocketed and unique exotic features was a favorite on many catwalks with top designers in the world, including Yves Saint Laurent and Helmut Newton. Many famous fashion publications from ELLE and Vogue featured her as a model.
While in Paris, Grace’s career catapulted her to stardom, and diverse audience of fans grew exponentially achieving international success. As she became even more popular for her music as a singer. In 1977 she signed with Island Records and released her album “Portfolio.” She frequented many gay bars and clubs in Paris on a regular basis with many celebrity friends. Her notoriety from music grew even more especially within the gay community in geographical size. It’s no shock to see Grace’s personal connection and love for the gay community stamped in history as her first encounter with a gay man is her brother. Grace had a close relationship with brother Chris, and went often to gay bars with him. She had a personal connection with the gay community and loved her gay fans even more.
Grace is infamous for making headlines since the 1970’s causing media chaos way before celebrities like Lady Gaga, Nikki Minogue, and Miley Cyrus existed. What makes her character even more appealing is that her father was a local politician and strict clergyman. Jamaica one of the most homophobic countries in the world where being gay is illegal and where individuals that don’t conform to societal norms are out casted. Many individuals in Jamaica have been prosecuted for identifying or even suspected of being lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, transgendered and queer, either imprisoned, bullied, and even killed. However, Grace loves being original, and no one can hold her back from being herself.
Grace is most famous on the big screen for her appearance as Zula in Conan the Destroyer with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and in the James Bond movie A View to a Kill. She also played a vampire in Vamp, and acted in and helped produce a song to the film Boomerang. In October 2014, Jones contributed a song, “Original Beast”, to the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.
Many credit her as a hero for breaking boundaries as the first pioneer celebrity to express androgynous flair and sexy animalistic behavior as normal and acceptable, overt evocative behavior. She is quoted as saying. “I feel feminine when I feel feminine. I feel masculine when I feel masculine. I am a role switcher” -Grace Jones.
Grace Jones is a true ageless gender-bender, champion of originality that everyone must know. Her memoir entitled I’ll Never Write My Memoirs was released in September 2015. Everyone should go out and purchase at least one item from her diverse collection to own a piece of history. To understand what staying in your own truth means.
Portfolio (1977), Fame (1978), Muse (1979), Warm Leatherette (1980),
Nightclubbing (1981), Living My Life (1982), Slave to the Rhythm (1985),
Inside Story (1986), Bulletproof Heart (1989), Hurricane(2008)