I’ve always admired Grace Jones. The strong image, the theatricality, the iconic Nightclubbing album that I still love to play. At 69, Jones is a woman with trend-defying, singular style who does her own thing regardless. Her fierce glamour hasn’t changed much since the Studio 54 days – and I appreciate this decade-defying look, and the confidence required to stick with it. On the return flight to London, I watched the documentary Bloodlight & Bami. It’s a behind-the-scenes film that follows the singer performing live, in the recording studio and travelling across Jamaica to visit family. Dressed only in a fur coat, Jones hilariously enjoys a champagne breakfast in a hotel in Paris, she is honest but surprisingly kind about the tacky backing dancers on a French TV show and watching her applying her own makeup before an appearance is captivating – but the film is most moving when she talks to Jamaican friends and family about her abusive stepfather Mas P.
The documentary-maker Sophie Fiennes spent almost 12 years filming Grace Jones. Writing in Vogue, Fiennes explains the title of the documentary. She liked the term ‘Bloodlight – a Jamaican musician’s term for the red recording light used in a studio’ but needed another word. Calling Jones late at night to discuss the issue, the musician immediately came up with Bami, ‘It’s the Jamaican bread I ate as a child, and it sounds funny, and that’s important, too.’ Grace Jones is a striking performer and this film shows her to be much warmer and funnier than you’d imagine.