Fashion icon, singer, actress, author and film producer, Grace Jones, will on Monday (October 15) add member of the Order of Jamaica (OJ) to her list of stellar accomplishments.
The nation’s fifth highest honour will be conferred upon the Jamaican-born international superstar at the annual ceremony of investiture and presentation of National Honours and Awards on the lawns of King’s House in St. Andrew.
Jones, who is being recognised for her exceptional contribution to the field of entertainment internationally, is among four Jamaicans to be conferred with the OJ.
The others are Godfrey Dyer for contribution in the field of tourism; Earl Jarrett for exceptional contribution to the banking and financial sectors, public service and volunteerism; and Giuseppe Maffesanti for exceptional contribution to the construction industry, social development, welfare and philanthropy.
Ms. Jones, whose exotic beauty captured the fashion world, is known for her work with prominent fashion houses, such as Yves St. Laurent and Kenzo, and appearing on the covers of Elle and Vogue. She has also recorded popular albums, including Warm Leatherette, Nightclubbing and Slave to the Rhythm.
During a recent interview with JIS News, Ms. Jones expressed gratitude to the Government.
“I am excited. It is a great honour. I love Jamaica so much, which makes it even better… . This award is very special,” she says.
Ms. Jones, who starred in the James Bond movie A View to a Kill as the villainess, May Day, and appeared alongside Eddie Murphy in Boomerang, was born in Spanish Town, St. Catherine in 1948.
She was raised by her deeply strict Pentecostal grandparents before leaving Jamaica at the age of 12 to join her parents in the United States.
She remembers attending school and church and participating in sports during her formative years on the island.
She would also visit her father’s side of the family on a Sunday and spend some holidays with her aunt, Sybil Jones, in Kingston, who would “open up a lot of opportunities for her”.
Ms. Jones says her love for Jamaica has had a significant influence on her career paths, especially her singing.
“I have a hit song or a classic one called My Jamaican Guy, and I still record. I am making one now with Sly and Robbie. I did some of that recording in Port Antonio at a place called Alligator Head. There is also a song called Shenanigans, which is about growing up in Jamaica,” she says.
My Jamaican Guy was penned by Jones and was the third single on her 1982 album, Living My Life. The song is largely written in Jamaican patois. Her single, Shenanigans, embodies her love for dancehall.
Producer, Lowell ‘Sly’ Dunbar of the legendary duo, Sly and Robbie said they made sure that the music in My Jamaican Guy matched her image and carried the message she wanted to convey.
“If you listen to the song, it is infused with mento and funk. We try to make her music original… . Grace has had a huge impact both locally and abroad,” he said.
In an interview with JIS News, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the international icon has “always been a strong advocate for Jamaica”.
“She has never forgotten her Jamaican roots. Indeed, she has embellished her international profile using Jamaica, and it is only appropriate that we recognise her for the contribution she has made to brand Jamaica as well as for her own work as an actress and international icon,” he notes.