Growing up there were a few women that I considered the prototypes of womanhood. I wanted to be funny like Betty White and Whoopi Goldberg. I wanted to ooze sultriness like Diana Ross and Tina Turner. But I absolutely wanted to be brazen and a giver of no f-cks like Grace Jones.
I remember first laying eyes on the statuesque beauty and was immediately mesmerized. She was nothing like I’ve ever seen before on tv. Dark skin and a flat top with shaved sides. She was unabashedly bold. And that was something you didn’t come across in the 80s, especially when it came to the portrayal of Black women on screen and in music. Flash forward several decades later, and she’s still the person I was enamored with.
Grace Jones hasn’t changed when it comes to her style and charisma. The muse of many in her heyday is still strutting her stuff across the stage while wearing 5-inch heels, and costumes that younger artists wish they could pull off. Born in Jamaica, but raised in New York, Jones rose to fame in the 70s with her music and modeling for the likes of Yves St. Laurent, Kenzo, Elle, and Vogue. And now, at 74 years old, she’s wrapped a several-city tour and is on the verge of releasing a new album.
On Sunday (Sept. 25), Grace Jones headlined the KCRW festival at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Ca., and the disco star, actor, and model performed her groundbreaking singles "Slave to Rhythm," "Love is the Drug," and "Pull Up to the Bumper,” as well as a soulful rendition of “Amazing Grace” that had the crowd going to church. Jones was nothing short of spectacular and proved that age is just a number when it comes to the ability to ooze sex appeal and glam. The singer, with multiple outfit changes during her set, also kept the audience in laughter with her in-your-face personality, while spewing profanities during her off-stage disappearances to change.
Attending a Grace Jones concert is an experience within itself, especially at the Hollywood Bowl. Just passing through the crowds to get to your seat, you’d be remiss to notice people decked out in sequins and full glamour, whether they were men, women, or non-binary. People donned their Grace Jones t-shirts, and my Grace Jones tattoo even caught the eye of many a passerby. And if you looked closely, you could see celebrities like Jodie Turner-Smith and Janelle Monae, sprinkled throughout the crowd.
Grace Jones isn’t one for interviews, which was something I was looking forward to possibly doing. Nevertheless, most recently she answered a few questions for The Guardian, where she hilariously spoke about twerking.
“When I worked as a go-go dancer, I called myself Grace Mendoza. I learned how to tweak one side of my ass, then tweak the other and make it jump. Now I can’t do the dances they do in Jamaica. I try so hard to make my whole butt bounce up and down, but even if I stand on my head, I still can’t do it. How these young girls twerk, I don’t know,” she said. While she still can’t twerk, she made up for it last night by dropping it low and popping it right back up. She could definitely give Megan Thee Stallion a run for her money.
Grace Jones’ 45-minute set was invigorating and lived up to the hype. And with a new album coming out soon, you can be sure you’ll be seeing more of her in the coming year.