... the other Black experience

Grace Jones is punk as hell! Watch some of her best Live performances

So it's Black History Month. Most media outlets are busy honoring the usual historical figures of African descent, as they should. But this is Afro-punk, and it's time to take a minute to acknowledge the ultimate counter-culture soldier, Ms. Bad-Ass herself, singer/songwriter/performer/model/actress Grace Jones. I don't care how old you are, you need to know that Grace owns this shit, the timeless talent, the "fuck you" attitude, the outrageous fashion, the political lyrics. Don't come to me talking about your latest starlet of the moment, I'm talking about Legendary here, OK? :-P

Grace Jones Is Punk As Hell
by Lou Constant-Desportes

Born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Grace Jones moved to the U.S. as a teenager when her parents relocated. She comes from a very religious family, which seemingly gave her something to rebel against... She later became a model in New York City and got signed to Island Records in 1977. But we figure you know how to use Google, so instead of giving you a history class about her career and accomplishments, let's focus on her art and how unique and subversive it is.
First thing first, the woman is one of the most charismatic performance artists of our time. The kind of artist you have to see Live to fully understand the scope of their talent. The videos included in this article are there to show you what we're talking about, please watch them.
;) Let's start with a stunning performance during which Jones sings about a man "pulling up to her bumper with his long black limousine", while members of the British Royal Family are in the audience. She got balls, I tell ya!

(note the natural hair when she takes her hat off, while many famous Black artists are busy
spending all their dough on lace front wigs made of European/Indian hair)

One of Jones' main qualities as an artist is her versatility. Don't even try to put her in a box. One day she's in Jamaica singing in patois with Sly & Robbie, the next she pulls off a jaw-dropping performance next to tenor Luciano Pavarotti, or at a high-profile fashion event. Proud of her Caribbean roots, she often includes reggae and other sounds from the islands in her recordings and shows.

Watch this:

But at the end of the day, if Jones' recording career spans 4 decades, that's because she wrote and recorded timeless music, with the help of inspired producers like Chris Blackwell, Nile Rodgers, and more recently, Tricky. One of the best examples is 'Slave To The Rhythm', produced by Trevor Horn:

'Hurricane', produced by Tricky - another powerful performance:

It's not all about hot tracks and extravagant shows though. Jones' songs often tackle social issues, politics... If you thought 'Slave To The Rhythm' was about shaking your thang at the club, think again. The lyrics are about "the system" and how many of us are slaves to a way of life that involves working 'for the man' and do what society expects from us in order to survive.
'Corporate Cannibal', the lead single from her latest album 'Hurricane', is about capitalism and corporations. Brilliant song and video...

'Williams' Blood', a song about her origins and family:

As for her fashion icon status, well, the avant-garde, androgynous, extravagant looks speak for themselves. She's a muse to designers and artistic directors alike. No other pop artist is in her league. Except Madonna maybe... ALL the other ones a pale copies, you heard?!

In today's music world, few artists have such staying power. Like a force of nature, Grace Jones is a better performer than ever at 62, touring the world, giving one mind-blowing performance after the other, putting out the kind of music she wants to make. So yeah... Grace Jones is punk as hell! And that's the gotdamn truth.

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Comment by Thomas Körtvélyessy on May 23, 2014 at 5:03am

after Saartje Bartmann and Josephine Baker it sure seems to get better with Grace Jones
(where's Skunk Anansie?)

I'm missing one of her most energetic, outspoken punk-like vocal performances from the list, so here goes:

Cuss me
Cuss me
You Cuss me for living
You Cuss me for living my life

You Leave me
You Leave me
You Leave me for living
You Leave me for living my life

You Choke me
Ah! you Choke me
You Choke me for living
You Choke me for living my life

I'm living my life
Living - my life
Living my life
Living in my life

Hard as I can
As long as I can
As much as I can
As black as I am

I'm living my life
Living - My life
Living my life
Living my life

Living my life - Living my life
Living your life - Living your life

Boss me
Boss me
Ya boss me for living
Ya Boss me for living my life

You Kill me
Kill me
You kill me for living
Kill me for living my life

Hate me
Ya Hate me
Ya Hate me for living
Ya Hate me for living my life

Living my life
Living - My Life
Living - My Life
Living - My Life

Hard as I can
As long as I can
As much as I can
As long as I am

[brain] for living my life

Brainwash me
You Brainwash me
You Brainwash me for living
You Brainwash me for living my life

You can't stop me
You can't stop me
You can't stop me  (!!!!)

Comment by malachi smith on May 21, 2014 at 9:13am
"Never stop the Action"
Comment by boot-cheese-3000 on May 19, 2014 at 9:14pm

Ooo-wee..........pull up to MY bumper BAY-BEEEEE!!!!! XD

Comment by Milo Mojo on May 19, 2014 at 7:31pm

Huge, fat, juicy love to Grace Jones... Many have tried but there will NEVER be another like her.

Comment by Veronica Alleyne on May 19, 2014 at 5:48pm

put some Grace in your face!

Comment by BK_Malik on May 21, 2012 at 10:31pm

Oh yeah, mad props to Grace for having one of the tightest bands ever in existence - Sly, Robbie, Barry "White" Reynolds, and Wally Badarou! 

Comment by BK_Malik on May 21, 2012 at 10:28pm

@Ta Riq Vladartz - you really can't confine Grace to any particular style of music, she can do any style that she wants to and does.

Comment by Jeremy Shatan on May 21, 2012 at 9:30pm

Just one of the best ever. The combination of her brilliant vocal approach with the Compass Point All-Stars has never been equalled and Hurricane is one of the most underrated albums of the decade! Happy birthday, Grace.

Comment by BK_Malik on May 19, 2012 at 10:53pm

Like many AP members, Grace shook up my life and my perception of music in a way that has never been the same. She is a true queen of Black music and a REAL icon.

Comment by Larry "Grey Eagle" Beaner on May 19, 2012 at 10:05am

She IS perfect; for me! Birthday wishes to the most daring & imaginative woman evah!! Did I mention sexiest as well? I don't mean as in revealing; I mean honestly frighteningly to-the-core sensuality. Her social commentary is also "right on time"!

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