Make America Grace Again
The queen of disco, Afro-funk & reggae soul. Bond girl, and force of nature — Grace Jones is Vibranium in the flesh — evidence that Wakanda may be more than just a fantasy.
I’m Jones-ing for some rhythm right about now. This American post-everything-culture has forgotten how to dance to the beat. Any beat. It’s gotten really bad — worse than a Nazi aerobics class—bad. Meanwhile our tone-deaf leader in chief likes to bang the entire drum set to pieces. He’s not stupid; he knows splinters and bits can’t bring about unified changes or revolutions; they’re just easier to sweep under the rug.
We don’t need this hateful noise and the mess it’s making of our Democracy— We a strong, steady beat; I stand for a lady from Jamaica. A self-possessed woman pushing 70 who still tours the world wearing space-age hats and sings, “This is my voice; my weapon of choice...” Yes. I’m with her — Are you with me?
Good. Let’s Make America Grace Again.
Queen of the Underground
First. If you missed clubbing in downtown Manhattan in the eighties, you might need to read the manual. Those days are still my reference for tolerance in a world that’s lost touch. Let me describe a typical scene from my beentheredonethat era... Warning. It might get inclusive.
At 10 pm you woke from a disco nap and put on something thrifty like a grandpa pinstripe dinner jacket, over a Betsy Johnson cat-suit. By 4am, you were three parties down and heading to an after hours club. You weren’t afraid to walk down a dark alley, bypassing the herd of rats while heading to a basement door. You knew the secret knock and flashed your VIP members chip—it was just a plastic key from a cracker-jack box that got you in for $5. It was just a basement decorated with black plaint, glitter and sand instead of a floor.
This where you’d spent the night — reveling with other nocturnal souls of the underground. Wall Street suits danced with drag queens, blue blooded debutants free styled with rappers from Bed Sty, drug dealers dealt to pierced punks, and models rubbed bony shoulders with cab drivers on a shift break. When the DJ played Pull Up To My Bumper Baby, New York came together with the same pulse—It was a spectacular traffic jam.
People weren’t trying to get a good grade with the PC police; that was how it was. Yes, privilege went unchecked back then, but things seemed equal-ish, considering were ALL breaking the law if the place got busted. Although, I did feel privileged to be there. In reality, I was just another feral tenth-grader who’d snuck out past her bedtime to attend the coolest party in the city. What did I know about intersectionality? I only knew what I saw—that New York never slept and also, mixing race, class, gender, and cultures on a dance floor enriched humanity.
The music of Grace Jones did that to a room—She was the diva of unity, without even trying.
In the words of Madeleine Albright,
In the words of veteran underground DJ Spinna,
In the words of Grace Jones,
I’m at an age where most trending music I hear makes me grumpy. I want ‘The Weekend’ to get off my lawn. I want enrichment I can dance to. But when I can’t seem to find it out there, I go back to the source. Today, I have 35 windows open on my browser — Six of them are Grace videos to to jog my memory and learn about updates.
When I sat down to write this piece, I had no idea her new documentary Bloodlight and Bami was coming to America. See? She IS vibranium. Grace Jones doesn’t need a twitter account; She speaks directly to my cellular being.
She’s still an A-lister, but her heart has always been on the B/side. Her music is a deep expression of who she is. Grace would do it if no one was watching. I’ve been transfixed by her freaky electric vibe for decades. She’s the Jones no one can keep up with, but we can be inspired. Here’s my list of lifestyle tips made in her honor— A little Grace goes a long way:
• The Diva Diet — Wine & Oysters, breakfast, lunch & dinner. And long French coffee breaks.
• Keep Jamaica time. Get there when you’re ready. B/ worth the wait.
• Take disco naps. Set your clock to vampire hours. Tell them it’s jet lag.
• Dance like the devil. Because no one is watching. Seriously, they’re on their phone.
• Having a bad day? Chew it up and spit it out. Dr. Jones says,
This is a woman who’s never gonna stop-ing — a senior citizen taking risks, touring, producing music, writing a memoir and releasing her own damn documentary!
Because she’s out there Making the World Grace Again — We will listen.
The B Side/ Pull Up To My Bumper... Party Mix.