A lifetime of Grace

Observer senior reporter

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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Jamaica-born model, singer, actress Grace Jones will add another accolade to her collection when she receives the Lifetime Achievement Award during this weekend's Voice of A Woman Festival.

The event — set for the Carib 5 cinema in Kingston on Saturday and the Cove Cinema in Ocho Rios, St Ann the following day — will also see the premiere of Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, a docu-film which captures the experiences of the internationally acclaimed entertainer. The festival will highlight the work of women in music, the arts, and film while exploring the status of women and girls in Jamaica in support of a campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Directed by award-winner filmmaker Sophie Fiennes, the work has already premiered to audiences in London and Toronto, and Jones is eagerly anticipating the Jamaican audience's reaction.

“The reaction in London and Toronto was fantastic. We had it in a number of theatres in London and it was really great. I just loved being that fly on the wall and that's what I am looking forward to at home. The film will take you through a mix of emotions. It will make you laugh...everything. So you know how Jamaicans get emotionally involved in a film when they are watching and talk back to the screen. It will be interesting to see how they react,” said Jones in an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer.

She further explained that ' Bloodlight and Bami' happened by chance, as Feinnes had done a documentary on her brother and his church. At that premiere in Los Angeles, the director indicated that she wanted Jones to be the subject of her next work.

“She just said to me: 'Why not do something?' and I said why not? So she followed me around for 10 years recording my every activity... concerts, events, visiting family... all over the world. And that's what the film really focuses on. I did not ask to see the footage which she shot, as I trusted her to give me something great. I am very pleased with the final product,” said Jones.

She said a large percentage of her Jamaican audience comes via her film work and her days as a model rather than her contribution to music, but she remains committed to that arena of her life.

“I am working on an album. It has been taking me quite a while... five years actually. I have been using the time to do other projects like my memoirs which was released last year. But the album is 90 per cent complete. The book has generated interest and there is the possibility of a film based on the stories in the book. The challenge right now is whether or not I should direct or act. I am looking to a team, so once there is that chemistry I will move ahead with these projects,” Jones added.

Jones is highly regarded internationally as an icon in film, music and fashion. In addition to her numerous film roles, James Bond — A View To Kill, opposite Roger Moore; Conan the Destroyer – opposite Dolf Lundgren; Boomerang, opposite Eddie Murphy; and numerous other titles. Local audiences are most familiar with her track My Jamaican Guy and Pull Up To The Bumper which was covered by Patra in the 1990s.

The Voice of a Woman Festival was conceptualised in 2009 by British theatre director Maureen Bryan in a bid to air the voices of women in the creative arts.

Bryan is introducing the event to Jamaica for the first time in a bid to heighten awareness of the issues facing women at this time, particularly in light of the increase in violence directed at females. Proceeds from the festival will go to support the work of the Jamaican charity, Woman Inc.

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