Artist Georgette Seabrooke in 1930s documentary, A Study of Negro Artists.
The Outrageous Grace Jones: Dazzling Queen Of Disco Flaunts Sex And Bald Head In Rise To Fame (Ebony, 1979)
Grace’s family is a very important part of her life, even though she is now busy with concerts, recording sessions and television shows. She still finds time to visit with her parents, the Rev. and Mrs. Robert Jones of Syracuse, N.Y., her six brothers and sisters who are scattered around the country, and numerous other relatives who still live in Jamaica. Understandably, she is closest to her twin brother, Christian, a model and disk jockey. She believes that her and Christian’s chemistries became “entangled before birth,” causing them to take on the personality traits of the opposite sexes. “The way we came out, I was his big brother and he was like my ‘little sister.’ I took care of him, fought for him; he taught me style. I played with fire and he played with dolls. But then, too, I was so strong to be a woman,” she says. “My whole family is like that. My sisters, my mother - we are all strong women. The guys, like Christian, are on the softer side.”
Strong she may be, but Grace assures the world that she is all woman, putting to rest rumors that she is a transvestite. She emphatically says, “I love men! The rumors don’t bother me. Being called a ‘transvestite’ has a lot to do with my being an entertainer. You know, show biz people are assumed to be freaky and bizarre.”
Even as a youngster Grace was headstrong. She wore Afros before they were fashionable and she has never been shy about showing off her breasts. She says that on a high school report card she was described as “socially sick.” “When I was growing up, I really didn’t have many friends,” she recalls. “I would wear Givenchy designs to school. I would look at the magazines, go buy some fabric, and I’d have a new dress. The other girls were into their jeans and shirts, but I would always wear a dress. I had to because of our [Pentecostal] religion. So I had decided that if I had to wear a dress, I was going to put something together that wouldn’t look too hicky. They laughed at me, but I knew I was looking good.”
Is a performance/ installation experimenting with process, presence, and intention. Through this 6-hour process, I test my physical, psychological, and emotional depths, the willingness of the viewer, and the fortitude of the space itself. The work is inspired by a continued investigation into the practice of spirituality or act(s) associated with spiritual endeavor and the synonymity of art and spirituality.
Conceived and Performed by
Whitney V. Hunter
with collaborating journalist
Check out these photos taken by Bryan Thomas for The Chronicle from a wonderful shoot on Nell Irvin Painter. Dr. Painter is a former star historian and retired professor from Princeton University who has put down her pen and taken up a paintbrush.
Christine Kittrell “Ain’t Never Seen So Much Rain Before” (Federal 12540-B, 1965)
Like many blues matriarchs of the 40’s and 50’s, Christine Kittrell made a stab at moving towards soul music in the early 1960’s. With a particularly youthful, rich voice, she didn’t sound as “matronly” as some of her contemporaries trying to make that transition.
Her second to last effort to make relevance between her extensive touring for the USO is this particularly silky organ driven dirge perfect for cloud bursts in the midst of early Spring.