AMAZING GRACE

Singer Grace Jones, right, the subject of the documentary film “Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami,” waves to the crowd alongside the film’s director Sophie Fiennes at the premiere of the film on day 1 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Elgin Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Toronto.
Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press

To the delight of music lovers who attended Afropunk in Brooklyn three years ago, Grace Jones fulfilled expectations to deliver fashion fabulous, androgynous music glam, lyrical mystique and spectacle.

The Jamaica-born pop diva, actress, songwriter, model, trend-setter, new-wave musician, daughter, mother, grandmother, sister and acclaimed Bond girl who thrilled movie patrons co-starring with Roger Moore who portrayed British spy agent 007 in “A View To A Kill” seemed as transformative and entertaining then as she was three decades ago when she won favor with elite clubbers at the revered Studio 54.

Renowned to emerge onstage from large cages with Bengal tigers, being lifted high into the air on a canopy lifted by half naked men and appearing from the dark wearing an elaborate wedding gown only to disrobe when one of the men removes a head veil — Jones has been theatrical, circus-like and unique.

Arguably, the five feet eight inches tall, 69-year-old, grandmother to Athena, Spanish Town, St. Catherine-born, native of Jamaica has been much more than the average performer / singer.

Signed as a recording artist to Island Records, her music captured audiences tuned to pop radio even finding Billboard chart success with “Slave to the Rhythm,” “Pull Up to the Bumper,” “Love is the Drug,” “My Jamaican Guy” and hits she collaborated with Jamaica’s Grammy-winning drum and bass rhythm twins Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespear.

Through the years, stories about her romps in her homeland Jamaica, quiet moments there and elaborate sessions with Island Records -founder Chris Blackwell and other celebrity types have been teasers to unconfirmed accounts.

Now, a documentary by Sophie Fiennes has arrived to give credence to the truths and myths Jones has agreed to disclose.

“Bloodlight & Bami,” bills the feature slated to open at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 13.

Fiennes’ new documentary offers an electrifying journey through the public and private worlds of this pop culture mega-icon, contrasting musical sequences with intimate personal footage, all the while brimming with Jones’ bold aesthetic.”

Fiennes goes beyond the traditional music biography, offering a portrait as stylish and unconventional as its subject. Taking us home with her to Jamaica, into the studio with longtime collaborators Sly & Robbie, and behind the scenes at gigs around the world, the film captures Jones as lover, daughter, mother, businesswoman, and, finally, performer.”

According to a press release “‘Bloodlight and Bami’ takes the viewer on an intimate and electrifying journey that moves between four cinematic layers — performance, family, artist and traveler — to explore the fascinating world of this pop cultural phenomenon. Here we see her behind the mask as a daughter, mother, sister and grandmother.”

“Larger than life, bordering on cartoon, wild, scary and androgynous — Grace Jones plays all these parts.”

The film premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, in London, England and Kingston, Jamaica.

“Bloodlight & Bami” will make its theatrical debut in NYC on April 13 at Metrograph, BAM Rose Cinemas and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

West Coast fans will be able to experience the legacy which has branded the daughter of Jamaica, the ‘Amazing Grace’ when the film opens in Los Angeles, California on April 20.

Grace Jones at Afropop.
Hakim Mutlaq

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