Jari Jones’s intention was never to make history or be a part of it. She only wanted to be herself. This artist, actress and model has greatly helped the New York bright queer community for years; with her essential and influential creative personality. But this year Jones became a sterling and vibrant star when she decided to grace a huge billboard in Manhattan as part of Calvin Klein’s Pride 2020 campaign. She is also one of their latest faces of the brand.
Jari Jones Shared Her Joy On Social Media:
Jones was with her buddies as she craned her neck high and saw the Calvin Klein billboard. Her friends carried “Black Lives Matter” cards with them, as they cheered Calvin Klein’s LGBTQIA+ Pride 2020 campaign. Jones mother gushed through a FaceTime call.
Out of the eight queer models who were apart of #ProudInMyCalvins campaign, Jones was one of them. “It has been such an honour and pleasure to sit in my most authentic self and present imagery of a body that far too often has been demonised, harassed, made to feel ugly and unworthy and even killed,” she wrote in a heart felt Instagram post.
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There are moments that I heard about, that help you forget when the world told you “Never” !!! . . There are these moments I heard about about that help you heal when the society has tried to beat you down , over and over again. . . There are these very real moments that I heard about that help you feel affirmed even when you don’t see yourself. . . I’ve been searching my whole life for those moments, I got tired of looking for those moments. . . So I decided to create them. Not for me but for the next dreamer, outcast, queer, trans, disabled, fat, beautiful black, piece of starlight waiting for their moment to shine. . . It has been such an honor and pleasure to sit in my most authentic self and present imagery of a body that far to often has been demonized, harassed , made to feel ugly and unworthy and even killed. . . I present this image ,myself and all that my body stands for to my community and chosen family, in hope that they see themselves more clearly than ever and further realize that they are worthy of celebration , of compassion , of love and gratitude. . . – Thank you to @ryanmcginleystudios and the @calvinklein family for a collaboration that will hopefully be a symbol of hope and love during these moments. BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER!! . . . . #calvinklein #blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter #transisbeautiful #queer #celebratemysize #actress #honormycurves #pride🌈 #bodydiversity #soho #effyourbeautystandards #curvygirl #curvemodel #influencer #billboard #plussize #plusmodel #influencer #plussizemodel #bodypositive #swimwear #campaign #newyork #melanin #model #ad #sponsored
This Pride 2020 campaign also involved 13 Reasons Why fame Tommy Dorfman, artist Gia Woods, Chella Man the trans activist and Pablo Vittar a drag queen and singer.
Jari Jones said to Yahoo Life that looking at herself on a massive billboard – painting the New York’s empty skyline – was “overwhelming” to say the least.
“A lot of reflection and history,” Jones said as she spoke of this experience.
“Never have I seen a Black trans woman put on such a public platform to be celebrated, and it was overwhelming, like an out-of-body experience. It was huge for me. Flooding with so many emotions of my own history of trying to break into the fashion industry, and all the ‘nos’ and ‘you can’ts’ and the ‘you’ll nevers’ all kind of dissipated in that moment.
“It was really, really empowering.”
Netizens Have Reacted As Well:
After the billboard’s unveiling, a meme raged across Twitter. This meme depicts the evolution of Calvin Klein through the years; from a catalogue of extremely thin white models to the representation of this diverse humanity.
It came post the confrontation of the brand’s 2019 Pride campaign by Indya Moore, Pose star.
So Much More Than Just Some Images:
This collab with Calvin Klein is definitely the focus point of her resume and portfolio; for at least the next ten years. But for the 29 year old Jones this campaign is all about what her photographs will mean to the millions who see them; while walking down the road or from the back of a taxi.
“I think when a lot of LGBT youth or plus-size youth or Black youth, see those possibility models, it allows them to know that their dreams are still possible, to know that their work is not for nothing, that they can push forward and get to success like that”, she told the Harper’s Bazaar.
“It’s taken me a long time to take back that word [‘fat’],” she added. “For so long I was a plus-sized kid, a fat kid, and everybody always told me I was fat.
“If you’re fat you won’t be able to get jobs, if you’re fat you won’t be able to find love,” adding, that she found her motivation to work out of her “own fatphobia” only after finding the plus-size community of NYC.
This is the reason why the words on her tweet which announced the campaign – “On Juneteenth, a fat Black trans woman looks over New York” – was very important to her.
— Jari Jones (@IAmJariJones) June 19, 2020
“It was important for me to put ‘fat’ up there,” she told. “So people know a fat body is worthy of celebration, it’s worthy of love, it’s worthy of respect.
“All those intersections, of being fat, of being trans, of being Black, it needs to be seen and named directly. I didn’t want to sugarcoat anything.”
A Symbol Of Hope:
Jari Jones’ campaign was revealed to the world on Juneteenth. Juneteenth is a national holiday in the United States Of America which commemorates the end of slavery in their country.
Jones also added that this year’s Pride campaign of Calvin Klein is a ‘symbol of hope’.
Jones even spoke about how she supports the younger LGBTQIA+ generation in a video. This video is on Calvin Klein’s YouTube channel. “I’m a mom to a whole bunch of queer youth. Some of these kids have come to New York City without a dime in their pocket and just a big dream. But, you know, they have things against them; they’re of color, they’re queer, they’re trans, and I’m just there to be their support.”