A new iconic image of Grace Jones photographed by Jean-Paul Goude is featured on the latest issue of V Magazine. Following the release of her newest album, Hurricane, she reunites with her former lover Jean-Paul for an interview. She was also featured in the UK Times to discuss maternal pride, her late father, Andy Warhol and President Obama.
In a candid interview, Jean-Paul Goude tried to place Grace “under pressure” (excerpts from V Magazine):
Jean-Paul: Would you agree that you have always had a problem with authority?
Grace Jones: Yes, definitely. I was born into a very religious family where everything was about setting the right example for the community and having to obey orders blindly. I felt that everyone was growing up in the world, except me. This is probably one of the reasons why I had such a rebellious attitude towards any form of authority. I also systematically associated authority with masculinity. With one exception: my great grandmother, who I actually saw chase and beat up my great uncle, the bishop of Jamaica. She was 98 at the time and 6 feet tall. Sure the bishop was her son, but still…
Jean-Paul: Would you say that your rebellion towards your family’s authority extended to your relationship with the men in your life?
Grace Jones: I think so, yes. And I think that is what contributed to my masculinization. I deliberately challenged men’s roles. In fact, I survived by taking on both roles. By the way, I also think that men need to be penetrated.
Jean-Paul: I beg your pardon?
Grace Jones: At least once in their lifetime.
Grace Jones: Because then they would understand what it is like to receive. It’s my own theory, which I think could help take some of the aggression out of the world.
Jean-Paul: But isn’t the nature of man to give, or should I say to provide?
Grace Jones: Of course not. It’s the nature of man to give and receive—to be man and woman, all in one.
Jean-Paul: But you’re not about to become a man, are you?
Grace Jones: No, but some men think I’m a man…
Jean-Paul: What men?
Grace Jones: (Laughs) Look, I’m not your average woman. I know that! I try to live with myself and figure myself out. I have terrible relationships because of my temper and some men actually want to kill me because they think I have more balls than they do. To most men, it’s intolerable. For years, I’ve had to consciously try to balance, even repress, that side of me in order to make a relationship work. It’s quite scary to realize that if one’s behavior doesn’t actually change, one will probably end up alone.
Jean-Paul: Does it worry you?
Grace Jones: Not really. I simply must decide to accept it.
Jean-Paul: Do you know that I have been angry at you many, many times?!
Grace Jones: I know, and I did it on purpose! I can’t explain it… It’s almost as though I was trying to take the risk to make people angry. Like in Las Vegas, when you know that even though this is the last of your money, you put everything on the line.
Jean-Paul: How do you see the future?
Grace Jones: I just want to be okay, you know, happy. I don’t know what the future holds but if I should end up living to be 100, I’d rather be by myself than live in a rotten situation. Besides, living alone can be fun. One can enjoy simple things, like looking at the sunrise or the sunset, taking pictures, writing, even gardening… If I was stuck in a bed, I’d want a view. I’d want to see lights change, rain, snow, the seasons.
Jean-Paul: Do you see yourself growing old alone?
Grace Jones: Alone, maybe, but not lonely. This is why I’m so attracted to spirituality. Not the religious side of it—religion is at the root of too many evils. As years go by, I tend to be more and more attracted to nature—to its beauty and to its violence. I mean, it helps me understand things. I watched my father die. I actually helped him die, I wrote a song: “You Died a Beautiful Death, Dad.”
Jean-Paul: Do you think that you are the incarnation of the devil?
Grace Jones: Of course not!
Jean-Paul: Are you an angel?
Grace Jones: Of course not! I’ve got my own relationship with God. God knows me; he knows my heart. We are friends. I really strive to be a better person.
What does pop icon Grace Jones and President Obama have in common?
Source: NightClubbing, Grace Jones & Jean-Paul Goude (1981)/ Obama Hope, Shepard Fairey (2008)
Their iconic portraits sit along the same hallway of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
In an interview with the UK Times, Grace had a few comments about President Obama’s inauguration (excerpts from the UK Times):
“I’m fine to watch it from here. I panic around too many people in a crowd actually. As for the great sense of hope — darling, anything would be hope once Bush was gone, as far as I’m concerned. I actually left America when he got in. The change already feels better, even from here. I just hope she (Aretha Franklin) had real diamonds in that thing. A little bling!”
What does Grace Jones think of childbirth?
“Oh, childbirth was nothing! Half an hour. Honestly. I had no, what do you call that — I didn’t go through labor. I just woke up one day, only eight months pregnant, and I thought I had to go to the bathroom. I felt the pressure and thought I was constipated so I sent Jean-Paul out to get me some laxatives! Ha ha ha. Then when he came back I had a contraction, so he took me to the hospital and I was still screaming to the doctor that I had to go to the toilet and he said you’ve got no time for that, the baby’s coming now. Half an hour and he popped out. Natural birth. No drugs. No pain.”
Grace’s memory of her late father (who passed away last year).
“But the one thing I was thankful for was that I was actually there to experience his death with him, because it really took all the fear of dying away. His eyes — they looked as if he saw something so amazing that he didn’t want to blink as he was going. My mother said I had to shut them or they would stay open for ever, but I couldn’t.”
Source: Grace Jones, Andy Warhol (1986)
What does Grace think of Andy Warhol’s legacy in commercial art?
“It’s like a museum. My Warhol’s — the ones he did of me, a series of small hamburgers, and photographs and Polaroid’s, because we spent so much time together. What Andy did do was make it possible for artists to make money while they were still alive. This was his genius. But he was very generous with me. That whole lot just loved doing art, you know — it was more about that. Creating.”
Twenty years after 1989’s Bulletproof Heart, her image is still what we remembered it to be during Studio 54’s ensemble of pop icons in the 70’s. It’s as if she had not aged a day, Grace Jones is a force not to be reckoned with.
Source: V Magainze, UK Times