Grace Beverly Jones (born 19 May 1948 in Spanish Town, Jamaica) is a Jamaican-American fashion icon, singer and actress.
She started her career in The '70s in high fashion meccas like New York and Paris, modelling for prestigious designers of that field such as Yves Saint Laurent and Kenzo. Her trademark androgynous beauty was captured by renowned photographers such as Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Hans Feurer, and made her a muse for avant-garde artists like Andy Warhol and a prominent cover subject for magazines like Elle and Vogue. She also had much influence on the crossdressing trends of The '80s, and she has Drag Queen imitators to this day.
She has sung in various musical genres (disco, reggae, funk, pop, post-punk... and even Chanson), frequently collaborating with both the graphic designer Jean-Paul Goude and the reggae/dub band Sly & Robbie. Later performers like Lady Gaga were heavily influenced by the works that resulted of these collaborations.
Jones had acting roles in movies such as the blaxploitation picture Gordon's War, Vamp!, Conan the Destroyer, the James Bond film A View to a Kill and Boomerang (1992). On a more trivia note, she convinced her then-bodyguard turned boyfriend Dolph Lundgren to make himself a career in acting, starting with a small role in the aforementioned A View to a Kill.
Film appearances on TV Tropes:
- Conan the Destroyer (1984) as Zula
- A View to a Kill (1985) as May Day
- Vamp! (1986) as Katrina
- Straight to Hell (1987) as Sonya
- Boomerang (1992) as Helen Strangé
- Portfolio (1977)
- Fame (1978)
- Muse (1979)
- Warm Leatherette (1980)
- Nightclubbing (1981)
- Living My Life (1982)
- Slave to the Rhythm (1985)
- Inside Story (1986)
- Bulletproof Heart (1989)
- Hurricane (2008)
- "Original Beast" (2014, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay soundtrack)
Tropes about her works:
- Alternate Album Cover:
- Early CD releases of Warm Leatherette replace the Jean-Paul Goude photo of Jones with a still from the Concert Film A One-Woman Show, depicting a headshot of Jones in sunglasses awash in blue light.
- Due to rights issues with photographer and ex-boyfriend Jean-Paul Goude, the digital releases of Nightclubbing, Living My Life, Slave to the Rhythm, and Island Life all feature generic cover art mimicking a folded-out cassette J-card, featuring just text and dark squares representing the removed photos.
- Animated Music Video: The video for the 1986 remix of "Love is the Drug" combines marker animation, Stop Motion, and Synchro-Vox.
- Ash Face: The relationship between this trope and blackface is parodied in the "Slave to the Rhythm" music video, which features two scene where black performers cover themselves in white ash: first is a group of performers stomping in the dust and getting it all over themselves, second is an androgynous black person sticking their head in a cannon just before it fires and emerging looking like an overly-glitzy white woman.
- Blackface: The music videos for both "Living My Life" and "Slave to the Rhythm" indulge in blackface imagery as a commentary on the relationship between black performers like Jones and the entertainment industry. The former video features ballet dancers in caricatured blackface masks, while the latter uses a number of variations on blackface makeup.
- Capitalism Is Bad: "Corporate Cannibal" uses cannibalism as a metaphor for corporate capitalism.
- Clip Show: The music video for "Slave to the Rhythm" primarily consists of recycled footage from Jones' previous videos, emphasizing its parent album's intent as a musical autobiography.
- Cover Album: Jones' first five albums; she'd gradually incorporate more and more original material as her career progressed, with Living My Life finalizing it by only featuring one cover (Melvin Van Peebles' "The Apple Stretching").
- The Cover Changes the Gender: Jones' version of Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug" changes the line "I say 'go,' she say 'yes'" to "I say 'go,' he say 'yes.'"
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Hurricane - Dub, a second CD included with the 2011 re-release of Hurricane, is a dub remix of the base album.
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: Her main appeal as a model and performer in The '80s was her androgynous appearance. The spoken passage in "The Frog and the Princess" particularly describes how "the ambiguity of her act was that she herself looked like a man— a man, singing 'I Need a Man' to a bunch of men."
- Minstrel Shows: The music video for "Living My Life" depicts Jones trapped in an abstract interpretation of a minstrel show, surrounded by mocking ballerinas in caricatured blackface masks. The ballerinas, a curt reference to the Delusions of Eloquence trope's prevalence in minstrelsy, are contrasted by Jones' defiant performance as part of her commentary on the relationship between black performers like herself and the entertainment industry.
- New Sound Album:
- Warm Leatherette shifts away from her early disco work in favor of reggae-infused New Wave Music, reflective of the Disco Sucks movement in the US that galvanized around that time. This is most heavily embodied by her version of "Love is the Drug", which replaces the dancefloor-friendly Glam Rock sound with chugging synth-rock.
- Inside Story moves Jones to a more mainstream dance pop sound, with Bulletproof Heart taking it further into New Jack Swing.
- Hurricane goes back to Jones' reggae/new wave mix, modernizing it with touches of Trip Hop and Thrash Metal.
- Not Quite Starring: She's played by an actress in House of Gucci, which is set in The '90s.
- Older Than They Look: At 73, she still looks the way she was thirty years ago.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: By nature of its unusual creation, Slave to the Rhythm is closer to a progressive pop album unlike Jones' typical fusion of New Wave Music and reggae.
- Rearrange the Song:
- Slave to the Rhythm turns this trope into an outright art form, consisting of eight distinct variations on the same base track. It was only supposed to be one single, but producer Trevor Horn was so satisfied with the eight different mixes he made that he simply released all of them at once.
- "Love Is the Drug" was remixed for a re-release in 1986, featuring a new Animated Music Video.
- The original LP release of Warm Leatherette shortens the Title Track, "Private Life", "Love Is the Drug", "Bullshit", and "Pars" due to the space limitations of the format; most CD and cassette releases feature the full album uncut.
- Most CD releases of Slave to the Rhythm shorten down "Jones the Rhythm" and "The Fashion Show", replace the album mix of "Ladies and Gentlemen: Miss Grace Jones" with the single version, omit the spoken-word interludes in "The Crossing", and both extend "The Frog and the Princess" and move it down from track 3 to track 5. The result is a considerably different experience compared to the LP version, with only the US CD and the 2015 remaster following the vinyl configuration.
- Scary Black Woman: She played The Dragon to Big Bad Max Zorin in A View to a Kill to great effect, with a perfect balance of Death Glare, ruthlessness and lethality. Zula from Conan the Destroyer might also qualify, depending on how one perceives her Blood Knight and Screaming Warrior tendencies.
- Shout-Out: The "Pull Up to the Bumper" music video uses Chroma Key to superimpose footage of Jones from A One Woman Show atop scenes from Koyaanisqatsi.
- Title Confusion: When the single "Slave to the Rhythm" was included on the album of the same name, it was retitled "Ladies and Gentlemen: Miss Grace Jones", with a completely different song being turned into the new Title Track. This creates an odd situation where the original "Slave to the Rhythm" is not the album's "Slave to the Rhythm", nor is it called "Slave to the Rhythm" on said album.