kate moss, boy george and more ask neneh cherry a question about her life
To celebrate the release of her new album, 'Broken Politics', we invite Neneh Cherry's friends, family and fans to ask her one question each.
Photography Olivia Rose. Stying Karlie Shelley. Neneh wears shirt John Lawrence Sullivan. Top (worn underneath) Martine Rose. Ring (worn throughout) model’s own. Necklace and badges Judy Blame archive.
This article originally appeared in i-D's The Superstar Issue, no. 354, Winter 2018
Boy George: I know how much you loved our friend Judy Blame. I often still find myself thinking of him and chuckling at his antics. Tell us your funniest Judy Blame story... God there are SO many! But here are two that really take the cake: I was seven months pregnant with Tyson and we were on holiday with Judy in Jamaica. We were staying in little wooden bungalows and Judy went out to fetch some brekkie. An hour later Cam and I were worried so Cam went to look for him and found him (nipple piercings and tattoos) wandering the other end of the beach carrying a tray of very cold breakfast! Another memory from our wedding; Judy wore a Philip Treacy black globe shaped veil that covered his whole head like a spaceman’s helmet. Unfortunately however there were no holes for him to drink his beer through, so he’d been knocking it back through the gauze until it looked like a weird distorted mouth filter with bits of food and beer stuck to it! He then got so pissed he fell down the stairs and landed in a heap at the bottom nearly taking out half of London en route.
Kate Moss: I first met you at the WAG Club, what was your favourite club anthem? Oh baby, I’ll have to say any Trouble Funk track or One Nation Under A Groove.
Terry and Tricia Jones: When you were a teenager, you worked at Better Badges stapling together the first issues of i-D. What advice did you learn from your parents? Hi Joneses! You guys know the answer to that: Always be yourself. Stay true to yourself. Don’t let anyone change you. That’s what my people taught me and that’s been my constant theme with my girls.
Joe Casely-Hayford: Jean Baptiste Mondino, Judy Blame and Ray Petri are all early influences. Who or what influences you today? Ray and Judy still kick our arses every day. I refer to them for pretty much everything. From a musical perspective I find Frank Ocean’s artistry inspiring. I rate Zadie Smith; she’s in my hood (keep it local). Working with Jenn Nkiru on the Kong video was amazing. She’s doing such great work. Last but not least the one and only Kieran Hebden affecting me on a deeper level.
Adwoa Aboah: You have beautiful children and an amazing career, how did you balance both? The beautiful children are my light and the career is the work.
Michael Stipe: How are the kids? One of them still considers you to be a godparent my darling! They are amazing! Like I just said they are my light light light!
Christopher Shannon: If you had to line up a dream girl band, that included yourself, who would the other members be? Cat Power, Dina Washington, Flohio and Ari Up.
Jean Baptiste Mondino: You are unique, always in a good mood, always smiling, happy and beautiful! Is it from your Swedish or African roots? Both and a little bit of NYC. I just went to Africa to bury my father and I hadn’t been to Sierra Leone for many years. I’m touched by how deep my connection to the place is.
Jamie Morgan: Neneh, my love, Buffalo means so many different things to different people, but what does it mean to you personally, creatively, emotionally, and as part of your life history? The Buffalo daddy godfather Ray Petri was a mentor to all of us and his vibe is in me, so is Judy Blame’s. That’s got to be apparent in pretty much everything I do. Love you back x
Akinola Davis Jr: Neneh, you’re idolised by so many women of your generation. What women did you idolise growing up if any? I’m always struck by strong women, the infamous blues queens, Chaka Khan, Minnie Riperton, the hip hop queens like MC Lyte, Roxanne Shante, Tanya Sweet, Tee Winley, Patti Smith, Poly Styrene, the Slits, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Isabel Allende… The list could go on forever.
Martine Rose: On my mum and dad’s mantelpiece is a picture of me aged 10 with you at my cousin’s house. You were a friend of my Aunt Joseph and I was beside myself when I met you. It’s so funny all these years later that we have come full circle and work together. If there were a moment in your past you could relive, what would it be? Oh wow, Martine, that’s amazing. The world is so small, how is Joseph, do you still see her? I don’t wanna go back, I’m here now ‘coz of all that!
Jenn Nkiru: What is your advice to remaining sustainable and balanced? Work hard, eat well, stay focused, laugh and cry.
Portishead: How does it feel to release music today compared to when you started? It’s more relaxing I think. We kinda know what we’re doing these days. Back in the day we winged it a lot!
Read our full interview with Neneh here.