Her parents moved to upstate New York when she was small and left the children under the authority of their step-grandfather, Peart, known as Mas P, who Ms. Jones describes as a “ferocious disciplinarian.” For minor infractions, like doing a handstand in a dress, she would be whipped with a leather belt.

She coped through fantasy, the only thing she could control. “Grace lived in her own world, created her own space, created her own imaginative games,” said her brother Noel Jones, a megachurch pastor in California.

The young Grace imagined Mas P’s imperious stare as an “all-seeing eye,” following her even to the gully where she played after school. It wasn’t until years later, while taking lessons with the acting teacher Warren Robertson, that she realized she had unconsciously adopted Mas P’s glare in photo shoots and performances, turning the “all-seeing eye” back out onto the world.

—Grace Jones, “The Power of Grace Jones,” The New York Times