Grace Jones and the late Rick James were co-presenters for the “Best Male R&B Artist” category at the 1982 Grammy Awards. After her runway-esque swirl to the microphone, topped only by the sexually charged banter with James, Grace Jones had the attention of every viewer while sporting a hat resembling an umbrella’s frame anchored by her most blinding smile. Even winner Marvin Gaye had a nano-second’s pause when approaching the podium helmed by the tall, lithe Grace Jones. Gaye’s winning song was the apropos “Sexual Healing.”
Thirty years ago, the gangly model from the West Indies set New York on fire. Grace Jones scorched to the ground every fashion house whose door she darkened. The camera loved her features as each fashion layout revealed yet another something new to study about bone structure. Sometimes irreverent, she was immediately an A-lister who didn’t give a damn about any list. Grace Jones exuded confidence, dramatic poise, and was a shameless heartbreaker. The tabloid rumor mills had Eddie Murphy, Rick James, Dolph Lungren and most men within a mile of Studio 54 scorched in her wake. Icons are anything but static.
There was little surprise when she segued into a singing and acting career. Even adding those occupations to her modeling resume seemed fruitless in containing her. Was it that her personality was just that big? Or, was it her talent? (We will back away from that one and let you decide. Talk amongst yourselves.) A songwriter and vocalist, Grace Jones was a precursor to the Cirque de Soleil-type of showmanship that is the live show standard today. But, what really solidified the Grace Jones experience were her mod fashions. Even skirts had angles to parallel her haircut. Getting next to her could get you stabbed by her jacket, dress or hat. Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj are really neat. But, until they are Bond girls or Bond villains, they are just taking notes in school because Grace Jones already handled that.