Grace Jones isn’t here for anyone but herself, and she makes that abundantly clear in her new autobiography, I’ll Never Write My Own Memoirs. In an excerpt obtained by Time Out London, the singer-model calls out stars of today, like Beyonce, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, for jocking her style, and criticizes her peers for believing she should work with them in order to sustain her career. It’s Grace or nothing in her world, and she is unapologetic about it.
Jones, who performed at this year’s Afropunk Festival, is known for her avant-garde style and ’70s and ’80s disco hits like, “I Need a Man” and “Pull Up to the Bumper.” She pushed the boundaries to the limit, and we still see her work emulated today. Kim Kardashian West paid homage with her “Break the Internet” spread for Paper magazine last year. For someone to suggest that Jones should work with millennial pop stars is laughable to Jones.
She isn’t upset about the emulation— Jones thinks of herself as a teacher to the next generation. Check out the excerpt below.
From Time Out:
Trends come along and people say, ‘Follow that trend’. There’s a lot of that around at the moment: ‘Be like Sasha Fierce. Be like Miley Cyrus. Be like Rihanna. Be like Lady Gaga. Be like Rita Ora and Sia. Be like Madonna.’ I cannot be like them – except to the extent that they are already being like me.
I have been so copied by those people who have made fortunes that people assume I am that rich. But I did things for the excitement, the dare, the fact that it was new, not for the money, and too many times I was the first, not the beneficiary.
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.
With this one, who I will call Doris, I thought she was trying on other people’s outfits: she’s a baby in a closet full of other people’s clothes, a little girl playing dress-up, putting on shoes that don’t fit. I could see what she wanted to be when I watched her doing something when she started out that was starker and purer. Deep down, she doesn’t want to do all the dressing-up nonsense; she loses herself inside all the play-acting.
The problem with the Dorises and the Nicki Minajes and Mileys 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.
What is teaching but passing on your knowledge to those who are at the beginning? Some people are born with that gift. With me, the teaching side morphed into the performing side. It’s in there. And these are my pupils – Gaga, Madonna, Annie Lennox, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Miley, Kanye West, FKA Twigs and… Doris.
We’ll see how those called out will respond, since most aren’t too shy to keep their opinions to themselves.
Did Jones go too far, or is she just being brutally honest? I’ll Never Write My Memoirs hits bookstores September 29.
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