The gears below the Paris Opera House (Le Palais Garnier)
Being the first artist or entity at all to be allowed to film a video in the then called Opera de Paris (Palais Garnier) in Paris, France for my video “Still A Thrill” in 1989 is something that was quietly monumental at the time – and probably beyond my devoted fans few know this. When most “urban” artists were primarily relegated to basic in studio videos. I thought about the significance as Beyonce made headlines with her video filmed at the prestigious Louvre museum another landmark in Paris. As one of my fans noted..”if you released this today, you would have broken the internet..it was ahead of the times.” I agree.
Directed by Brian Grant, the 2nd of 3 videos we filmed together – I sashayed all over the streets of Paris (thank you to my former label for supporting my vision) – I worked the historic setting with no choreography or rehearsals. There’s also a scene in one of the night shots on the streets of Paris where graffiti notes “Gay Color, Say Cool Say What?” that makes it’s own statement and my support of the LGBTQ community without batting a cat-eyed eyelash that I’ve never been asked about.
This included the basement so to speak working the gears with Tyrone “The Bone” Procter, former ST alum like me – freestyle, waacking, just making it up as we went along. I styled myself (a bit of Jean Paul Gaultier mixed in) as well as Tyrone (in a Jean Paul Gaultier T-shirt). It was about the edgy style against the opulent setting and getting in the music. Creating art outside the box especially for a black girl at the time dealing with industry politics among other things – quietly opening doors and raising the bar for myself and others to follow has always been important to me – before social media.
You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing-that’s usually how artists make a mark.
Paris By Night was the theme and concept of the video – totally enjoyed collaborating and working with Brian Grant.
We saw this jeep totally by accident while scouting locations on a photo session for my tour book in 1989. It was too good to pass up. The shot only took a few minutes, renegade style and we were out of there.
All self styled – my vision was for the tour book to be all about a fashion editorial aesthetic and nothing like any tour book photo’s I’d seen with my own sense of style and individuality captured. Although not included in the current Gaultier exhibition, I was an early supporter of his designs as seen in a lot of my early photo’s and video’s, and as early as 1984 discovering him while living in London. Although this was decades ago, it’s totally timeless; picture Rihanna, Solange or one of today’s young fashionable artists – would still work.
#tbt #throwbackthursday #classic #jodywatley
Photography: Victoria Pearson. Make-up: Beth Katz . Art Direction: Lynn Robb and Jody Watley. Styling: Jody Watley. Downtown Los Angeles, 1989 in Gaultier
With Christos Garkinos of Decades Inc, Dukes of Melrose in Dita Von Teese Collection to commemorate my appearance in tonight’s episode of The Dukes.. on Bravo TV along with Dita Von Teese and focus on Jean Paul Gaultier and trendsetters!
With Christos Garkinos, launch party Dita Von Teese Collection at Decades Inc., 2012