I am forever intrigued by the extremely rare circumstance that I come across another person, especially a black one, who thinks outside the box and refuses to conform to the status quo. Our dire need to be accepted certainly costs us the price of a better life. I also say this because I have always been that person myself and I can absolutely say it not only takes a lot of courage, you are often punished for it in the black community. To be misunderstood means you are relegated to the “abnormal” category because black folks like things plain and simple, not complicated and thought-provoking. We like to categorize and stigmatize instead of empathize and realize and that’s most unfortunate. I’ve met hundreds of celebrities and successful people but have been impressed with few except those who took a bold, daring and unaligned approached to follow their gut instinct no matter what the cost. People like Berry Gordy, Frankie Crocker, TD Jakes, Oprah Winfrey, Prince, Al Sharpton, Vanessa Williams, russell simmons and few others have all created legacies based on thinking outside the box and being dedicated to what they wanted to do instead of what they should have done at all costs. None of them, however, like Grace Jones.
(Photo courtesy of Darnell Gamble)
What is “normal” besides mere conformity to narrow and limited perspectives? Being what and who everybody else thinks you should be and fits inside their limited and unexplored, uneducated and filtered comfort zone? Is that “normal” or is it stupid? It took me MANY years to understand that most of that criticism is never about YOU it is ALWAYS about THEM.
grace jones has a new book coming this week “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs” and in it she explains being ostracized, laughed at and disconnected but oddly enough it is also the driving force behind her enigmatic persona. MOST women would be insulted if they were told they looked like a man but Grace not only embraced it, she enhanced it and owned it. Always extreme, Grace had to have a lot of fun reversing the roles and making the same people who made her uncomfortable, uncomfortable themselves. At the end of the day, that’s really the issue. It’s not that a person is “abnormal” in as much as their presence makes OTHERS feel “abnormal.” Her ability to take the things about her that people attacked then formulate celebrity as a result from it, is nothing less than brilliant. What is left for those same detractors but to vanish or worse yet…respect you.
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