Buzz about the upcoming season is high as media stories surrounding an alleged on-camera feud between the former co-host of 'The View' and NeNe Leakes of the 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' recently made headlines.
BlackVoices.com spoke exclusively with Jones, and the 48-year-old legal eagle not only addressed the rumors surrounding Leakes, but also discussed her new position as editor-at-large for Uptown magazine and Barbara Walters' recent ABC heart surgery special, 'A Matter of Life and Death.'
You recently became editor-at-large at Uptown magazine. Tell me about this endeavor.
What an exciting opportunity to add my voice and point of view to Uptown. As a luxury and lifestyle magazine that caters to affluent African Americans, this is a unique opportunity to expose a different side of our culture to the masses. What we think, where we live, how we celebrate, what motivates and what exasperates...nothing is off limits; but from the perspective of someone who has both experienced the world and been exposed to what it offers.
The current co-hosts of 'The View' were on 'The Oprah Show' last Friday, and Barbara Walters was surprisingly kind to you when your name came up during the discussion. Have you two made peace?
I was glad to hear that from my sources. It's been so long since I did 'The View.' There certainly is no animosity on my part. It's been time to move on!
Speaking of Barbara, she had a heart surgery special on ABC recently called 'A Matter of Life and Death' that featured President Bill Clinton, David Letterman, Regis Philbin, Charlie Rose and Robin Williams. You also had heart surgery a year ago, why don't you think she asked you to participate?
Normally I would say: "Now, Jawn, don't try to start anything." However, this time it really isn't about me, but about the new face of heart disease. This disease is no longer your old white man's disease. It is the number one killer of women and the number one killer of African Americans. Heart disease kills more women and blacks than the next four causes of death combined. I had open heart surgery a little less than a year ago, and regardless if it was my "heart story" or someone else's, by not being more inclusive, BW missed a tremendous opportunity to educate, inform and influence the actual people that cardiovascular disease is affecting.
You are featured on the new season of 'Celebrity Apprentice' and the charity that you compete for is the American Heart Association. The show is getting a ton of pre-press mainly because Nene Leakes has been doing interviews about you. What went wrong with you and NeNe?
This actually saddens me. Black women trashing other black women all for the sake of personal aggrandizement. When the cast was first announced, I was both excited and concerned. Excited that this was going to be the most diverse cast in prime-time reality programming and concerned because the media immediately started the drumroll of "can this many black women get along?" The four of us actually chatted about the unique opportunity we had to influence the perception of black women and the way we interact. We each brought something different to the show, so I had hoped we could avoid falling into the typical "snake charmer in your face loud bombastic black woman" stereotypical box that was expected. Some of us were more successful at our quest than others. I knew I wanted to approach the game intelligently, professionally and strategically, while keeping in mind my true purpose for being there – winning money for my charity.
Vanessa Bell Calloway, Natalie Cole and Holly Robinson Peete to name a few. Were you surprised at Nene's personal attack on you and the implications that you don't gel with other black women?
Who are you telling! You know my girlfriend gatherings are legendary! But you'll see this season on the show, at some point Nene attacked all the black women on the show and scared the other women to death with her aggressive approach. But to be fair, it is an approach that works for her kind of television interaction, as evidenced by the great ratings they generate. But it isn't an approach that works in the professional environment and it isn't an approach that most sisters use in interacting with each other. I would hope, as she becomes more exposed to a variety of professional situations, she will tone down the vitriolic emotional reactions and learn to express herself in manner that is more reflective of the majority of black women in America.
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