In an excerpt from her memoir published in Time Out London, Grace Jones has harsh words for Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, and basically every other pop star who followed in her footsteps. As Jones sees it, the industry is full of trend-jumping opportunists who got rich by ripping off and watering down her style.
“The problem with … the Nicki Minajes and Mileys is that they reach their goal very quickly. There is no long-term vision,” she writes. “They dress up as though they are challenging the status quo, but by now, wearing those clothes, pulling those faces, revealing those tattoos and breasts, singing to those fractured, spastic, melting beats — that is the status quo. You are not off the beaten track, pushing through the thorny undergrowth, finding treasure no one has come across before. You are in the middle of the road.”
As a cautionary tale, Jones points to a performer she calls “Doris,” who cited Jones as an early inspiration and wanted to collaborate with her. “Everyone around me is going: ‘You have to do it, it will be so good for you, it will introduce you to a whole new audience, you will make a lot of money,’” she recalls. “No! It will be good for her; she will draw from everything I have built and add it to her brand, and I will get nothing back except for a little temporary attention.”
Now, when she looks at Doris, she can only see “a baby in a closet full of other people’s clothes, a little girl playing dress-up, putting on shoes that don’t fit … She looks lost, like she is desperately trying to find the person she was when she started.”
Which leads to one question: Who is Doris? The excerpt explicitly name-checks Rihanna, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and FKA Twigs alongside “Doris”; who’s left? Do your thing, internet.