Unsolved Mystery: Who Is Grace Jones’s “Doris”?

September 10, 2015  |  

It’s a mystery worthy of a Murder She Wrote and Matlock crossover episode.

Who is Doris?

If you ask me, Doris is no other than Beyoncé. In fact, it is pretty obvious.

But you can’t tell that to the Internet, in particular, her hive. Her fans are all tripping over themselves to convince the rest of us that the onesie-wearing voices in their heads are real, swearing to the great Spanx in the sky that Doris isn’t her.

In case you weren’t aware, Grace Jones decided to pull the Excalibur’s sword from that dusty old rock and slay every single so-called diva on the scene. I’m talking Rihanna’s head on a stick. I’m talking Lady Gaga diced up so severely you could wear her as a meat dress. I’m talking Kanye West being turned into an eunuch.

According to witnesses on the scene, the massacre occurred sometime yesterday when Time Out released an excerpt from Jones’ upcoming autobiography titled, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs. Not only did she call the entertainers out for improperly jacking her style and being fake divas, but she also called them individually out by name – well, almost all of them:

I remember when one of the singers on the list of those who came after me first said that she wanted to work with me. 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.” 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. No one could believe that I said no, but I am okay on my own. I am okay not worrying about a new audience. If the f**k don’t feel right, don’t f**k it.

With this one, who I will call Doris, I thought she was trying on other people’s outfits: she’s a baby in a closet full of other people’s clothes, a little girl playing dress-up, putting on shoes that don’t fit. I could see what she wanted to be when I watched her doing something when she started out that was starker and purer. Deep down, she doesn’t want to do all the dressing-up nonsense; she loses herself inside all the play-acting.

The problem with the Dorises and the Nicki Minajes and Mileys is that they reach their goal very quickly. There is no long-term vision, and they forget that once you get into that whirlpool then you have to fight the system that solidifies around you in order to keep being the outsider you claim you represent. There will always be a replacement coming along very soon – a newer version, a crazier version, a louder version. So if you haven’t got a long-term plan, then you are merely a passing phase, the latest trend, yesterday’s event.

No one knows for sure why Jones decided to call everybody out by name except for Beyoncé. Perhaps she didn’t want to get blackballed? But being the keen sleuth that I am, I noticed that she did leave us a couple of valuable clues as to the true identity of the mysterious starlet named Doris.

The first clue is the name “Doris” itself.

When you think of a Doris, what instantly comes to mind? That’s right: a little old White lady. While pretty shady, it is definitely an odd choice of comparison to make against a contemporary artist, performers who are all pretty young. Maybe she was trying to point out how aged Beyoncé’s blonde weaves are? It is a thought.

However, I’m picking up on a more classic cultural reference here. I’m talking about Doris Day. For the youngins, Doris Day is a film and theater star from the ’50s and ’60s. She’s most notable for playing opposite Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk as well as James Stewart in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much. Like Beyoncé, she wore blond hair.

She was also known widely as “America’s Sweetheart” for her squeaky clean girl next door image. And which one of today’s blonde pop stars does that sound like to you?

That’s okay, I’ll say it for you: Beyoncé, aka Miss “Pretty Hurts.” (Seriously, who writes a song about how hard it is winning beauty pageants and being the most beautiful woman in the world? Women like Doris Day.)

The resemblance in image is almost uncanny. However, I know that is not enough to convince some folks that Doris and Beyoncé are the same person. So I point to this passage from I’ll Never Write My Memoirs as exhibit B:

I look at Doris and I think: Does she look happy? She looks lost, like she is desperately trying to find the person she was when she started. She looks like really she knows she is in Vegas, now that Vegas is the whole entertainment world filtered through the internet, through impatient social media. I don’t mind her dressing up, but when she started to dance like Madonna, almost immediately, copying someone else, it was like she had forgotten what it was about her that could be unique. Ultimately, it is all about prettiness and comfort, however much they pretend they are being provocative.

Now diehards might argue that this is passage is in reference to Lady Gaga, who is known for putting together elaborate stage shows, or even Britney Spears, who is currently doing actual shows in Las Vegas. However, Vegas, to me, is clearly being used here as a metaphor to describe the fabricated yet regulated world of the entertainment industry, where image has been known to take precedence over actual talent.

There are some other holes in the Gaga and Spears theory too. For one, Spears hasn’t really been relevant for some time now – not even in Vegas. Likewise, it should be noted that throughout the excerpt, Jones continuously calls Gaga out explicitly by name, including the last line in which she does a roll call of her pupils. More specifically: “Gaga, Madonna, Annie Lennox, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Miley, Kanye West, FKA Twigs and… Doris.”

Now if Gaga is supposed to be Doris, why the need to shade her (or any of them) after she had already been directly called out? It’s just not logical.

Not to mention, who among the starlets has been called out recently for jacking Madonna’s style? Okay, you got me there. All of them. But who blatantly jacked Madonna’s entire Erotica phase for her surprise album concept, in particular, the “Haunted” video?

Beyoncé.

Now, admittedly, Rihanna plays up the sexy too. But despite what Jones may believe, there is something pretty authentic about her image. For example, if I see Rihanna pretend-smoking a blunt while getting a lap dance at a strip club in one of her music videos, there is no doubt in my mind that she’s about that life in reality.

But nobody puts on an image like Beyoncé. And I mean that with the least bit of shade. Her ability to transform into characters with ease is one of her greatest attributes (besides her actual singing abilities). She is almost like a living and breathing Barbie. And who doesn’t love Barbie?

Still, no one (without the implant) would believe Activist Barbie is really out here leading anarchist rallies against the system through non-descriptive embattled city blocks like she did in the “Super Power” video. Not dressed like that at least. Even her version of sexy is still kind of controlled and refined, never straying too far from what the stage directors tell her to do. What I am saying is that we will never see Beyoncé cut loose in real life as she does in her music. That’s just not her personality.

So as I prepare to rest my case, I ask the jury to consider Jones’s own testimony here. Jones’s legacy wasn’t about creating buzz for album sales by donning elaborate costumes and putting on sexy stage shows. To the contrary, Jones got naked because she saw herself as an artist. And that free-spirited woman we see on stage is who she was in real life. That is what made her not only unique but a disruption to the status quo.

And while that label clearly applies to all of these divas, there is only one Queen B–er, I mean Doris, among them. And I think we all know who that is…

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