Word Is Out: Grace Jones Tells No Lies As She Shades Copycats & Doris Divas In 'I'll Never Write My Memoirs'


"If the fuck don't feel right, don't fuck it." 

...and now ladies and gentleman, Miss Grace Jones.

Afro-punk goddess, high fashion icon, and mother of all fierce creation, Grace Jones has never been one to mince words, and in her upcoming autobiography, the slickly titled, I'll Never Write My Memoirs (out September 29th) she is slicing and dicing the lexicon once again as she lashes out a shading of the century towards all copycats and new "Doris" divas in music for simply standing and being 'no-no's' in the face of her greatness.

Time Out London has an exclusive excerpt from the memoir, and it's already got folks twisted and parched as she has her claws out and sharpened, calling out mostly everybody's faves:
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.
No lies detected.

More focus is being put on Grace mentioning a "Doris", analyzing them thus as "a baby in a closet full of other people’s clothes, a little girl playing dress-up, putting on shoes that don’t fit." While everyone on social media is grabbing for straws and throwing out names as if they are reading a blind item, "Doris", to me, doesn't ring like a specific person but more so a code name to describe a stereotypical "basic" mainstream diva. She has applied this "generic name" (which happens to be my late grandmother's name...so apologies to anyone named Doris!) because they are nameless, faceless personalities as they are cut from the same cloth, following the same pattern as their predecessors without much change or alteration. Jones has already brazenly called out who she wants to call out by name, so "Doris" is probably used as a placeholder just so she won't take up more space naming all these extra peons.

What is ironic is that Grace has got folks twisted up over the origin of the generic "Doris" title, just as the music industry has us twisted up over it's generic assembly line of divas. Ha! The brilliance!
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.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. 
I look at Doris and I think: Does she look happy? She looks lost, like she is desperately trying to find the person she was when she started. She looks like really she knows she is in Vegas, now that Vegas is the whole entertainment world filtered through the internet, through impatient social media. I don’t mind her dressing up, but when she started to dance like Madonna, almost immediately, copying someone else, it was like she had forgotten what it was about her that could be unique. Ultimately, it is all about prettiness and comfort, however much they pretend they are being provocative. 
Jones continues to school as she puts chalk to board towards her pupils:
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.
Bless her.

Usually I am not bothered by an artist wearing their influences on their sleeves. We are all influenced by somebody or something, everything is a copy of a copy, fashion repeats itself, etc. but in recent years it's become apparent that some artist's these days take the easy way out and want to actively replace those who've walked the road before, acting with all their arrogant might as if they were the creator, and hoping that they can convince those unaware of the original source that they're the genuine article. While Jones has called out some faves of mine, she isn't far off about how some of the influences hit a little too close to comfort.

Whenever I'm listening to a new artist, I'm always looking for someone who can "build off" their personal influences to make their sound, their image their own special brand. For an example, Michael Jackson was known to be influenced by James Brown, but we must remember that where the Godfather of Soul ended, the King of Pop began. Jackson had his own style, and he went from student to teacher. Jones is right to ask, where do the "Doris" divas of now true personality come into the fold? If she's so special, then why does she have to take the identity, the ideas of another?

I could write a plethora of non-fiction texts and blog posts as to why I struggle to find originality these days as I trek on my adventures through sound, but Grace Jones probably wrote it for me in the pages of I'll Never Write My Memoirs, thus I'll give her the mic and let her drop it.

Can't wait to read this book!

+ If you're a member of GoodReads (like me!) you can enter into a giveaway to receive one of 30 copies of 'I'll Never Write My Memoirs'. Enter the giveaway here
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