Outspoken and controversial performance artist Grace Jones doesn’t pull any punches in her new bio, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, where she slams the music industry’s current crop of pop stars as “lost” with no vision for their futures. Check it inside….
On September 29th, the legendary Grace Jones is releasing her memoir I’ll Never Write My Memoirs and its a good “read.” And by “read” we mean it’s the type of memoir where you name names and really let the reader know how you feel. And we’re here for it!
Thankfully, Miss Jones’ publishers allowed Time Out to publish an except from the tome and we really get a sense of what she thinks about current pop stars, including Rihanna, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga (whom she says all copied her). Here are the highlights we’ve pulled:
On being copied: 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.
On Rihanna: 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.
On turning down a collab with Lady Gaga: 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.
On “the Nicki Minajes and Mileys” of the pop world with “no long-term vision”: ..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.
And with one last read (where she name checks Kanye West) Grace describes herself as a teacher and the others are her pupils. Here’s what she’d tell the class.
This is what I would say to my pupil: you have become only your fame, and left behind most of who you were. How are you going to deal with that? Will you lose that person forever? Have you become someone else, without really knowing it? Do you always have to stay in character for people to like you? Do you know that you are in character?
Doris, I would say fame is all well and good if you want to take it to another level. If you have some greater purpose. Me, I am just a singer, on one sort of stage or another, who likes to have an audience, but not all the time. Listen to my advice; I have some experience. In a way, it is me being a teacher, which is what I wanted to be. I still feel I could go into teaching. 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.
I’ll Never Write My Memoirs is due out Sept. 29.