Jari Jones was more than ecstatic to see her huge billboard on a street in New York City. It's a major moment for the LGBTQ+ folks of color.
Pride Month is almost coming to a close but brands are still trying to cash in on the lip service of it all as much as possible. Lip service or not, Calvin Klein has made history by including their first Black transqueer model as part of this year's Pride campaign. Jari Jones, an actress, model, and activist, is one of the many members who has joined the brand for this campaign. In a now-viral video, the model can be seen celebrating the incredible moment she sees herself on a huge billboard with her friends. Her joy speaks volumes about the importance of inclusivity.
In the video, Jones is seen squealing and generally being excited about the huge billboard located in New York City. She is joined by her friends who are just as excited as she is. On Instagram, the model uploaded photos of the moment she saw the billboard for the first time. She popped champagne and celebrated with her friends. "There are these moments I heard about that help you heal when the society has tried to beat you down, over and over again," she wrote. "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."
Without a doubt, this is a powerful moment not just for Jones, but for all non-conforming Black folks out there. They experience not just the marginalization of race, but also of gender and sexuality. In an interview with Refinery29, she shared some advice with young people who may be struggling with this double marginalization. She stated, "Know that heterosexuality isn’t the hierarchy, that being something other than what society deems as 'regular' is just as good, maybe even better." She also added that it was best to just "enjoy the exploration "of gender and sexuality."
In addition to large billboards and other marketing, Calvin Klein published a video series. Directed and shot by American photographer Ryan McGinley, the series is nine parts long and features up and coming stars such as Fenty model Ama Elsesser, 13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman, and "Only A Girl" singer Gia Woods, among others. Of course, Jones is a key part of this series as well. The brand will also be donating to LGBTQ+ organizations throughout the year. Unlike other clothing companies, this is a commitment that they plan to honor throughout their year, not just during Pride Month.
Some of the organizations that Calvin Klein has partnered with in the past or plans to collaborate with in the future include OutRight Action International, onePulse Foundation, and The Equality Project. The Pride campaign also features Chella Man (a gender-queer artist who is deaf), Mina Gerges (a gay Egyptian model recently featured in a Sephora campaign), drag queen Pabllo Vittar, and bisexual model Reece King. If you like any of the fits they're wearing, the pieces are from the brand's The Pride collection. The collection includes their iconic sports bra and brief sets with a rainbow twist in addition to colorful boxer briefs, denim, sweatshirts, and more.