Grace Jones Tells Everybody

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We’ve been looking forward to Grace Jones’s memoir, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, since it was confirmed early this year, and the quotes leaking on the Internet (via Dazed Digital, among others) haven’t disappointed. As far as we can tell, she eloquently calls out the mainstream music industry’s claim to “outsider” or “innovator” status like the sage she is:

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.

To be more specific, Jones cites Rihanna’s adaptation of her painted body concept:

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.


Liz Wood is a freelance editor, fiction writer, and current student in the NYU MFA program. More from this author →