We had the good fortune of connecting with Charvette Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charvette, what are you inspired by?
Being a teacher for 26 years, the majority of the time, I taught black children. From that time and even now, I have always believed and said that black people, especially students and everyone else needs to know our history which is more American that apple pie. During Black History month, I made it my business to teach my students more than just our FAB 5, Martin, Rosa, Harriet, Sojourner, and Booker T. These FAB 5 change from teacher to teacher that doesn’t look like me. Talking about the past and how we got here is what has inspired me and the knowledge is needed and necessary. Talking about racism and coming from a family where we were engulfed in our culture, my dad was a history teacher and artist and he specialized in African History and African Art history for 36 years. So, we always knew the beautification of and being descendants of Africans and what being black in white America look like and is. He painted about the black experience, his experiences, and went all over the nation telling and showing his artwork and our African Art.
It is 2021 and there are too many people, black and white, as well as others, who do not know what black people have done for the world and who we are and what we should be about. Since I have not yet opened my own school, I decided to start an apparel company called The B.L.A.Q.K. Company, LLC which stands for Be Like A Queen-Be Like A King, to help with this knowledge.
The company’s logo says a word that allows for interpretation and makes loud and bold statements without saying anything. It celebrates Queens and Kings of royalty who are descendants of such. It could be interpreted as a play on words, but nonetheless, the wearer wears it well based on the way in which he or she conducts themselves. We use symbols such as the Ankh, Africa, Fists, and the infinity sign within the letters to make the statements louder and prouder. It is so unfortunate that telling our stories as black people, descendants of Africans, can be misconstrued. We have been silent for too long. We have done things the way they wanted to for so long, let’s try this way, because Black people are AMERICA’S History.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a classically trained ballerina who also danced internationally, as well. I was in ballet at a very prestigious ballet school in my hometown. It was during a time that of a lot of black people did not attend ballet schools especially white ones. Nonetheless, my parents made sure that I was very good at this performing art. Thus, visual or performing, the arts run in my family. there were two blacks that went to this school, me and another one who was a student of my dad’s in the high school that he taught at. We were in The Nutcracker. She was like a prima ballerina to many. I was in it for 7 years. In addition to that, I was also a gymnast. Of course, gymnastics works different muscles than ballet at that time. Now, all ballerinas and gymnast it seems has the same physique. Ballerinas are now more muscular than they were when I was taking it. Going to A&M was incredible. As an undergrad, I taught ballet every Thursday night in our dorm and was I was in numerous talent shows, and I was a cheerleader for a moment until it interfered with me being apart of the Thespian Society. So I was torn. I chose ballet. Being at A&M also, helped me explore more about being black and being proud of it more deeply. I had a strong foundation of my culture and roots from my family, but getting more exposure and building up a desire to want more, is what I continued to learn. We would have poetry night where ever on the yard and I would rhyme to the words of my black conscious and that is all people heard. I became a lot of things those years on the yard, ballerina girl, poetic girl, ain’t you that girl that….. These are things that defined me and made me who I am today. I grew-up in a historical part of Toledo, in a white neighborhood. I went to an predominantly white ballet and gymnastic school. I went to an all black Christian school, high school, and university and I lived in Hanau Germany. All of these things define me and I know that being able to have and do these things, that my ancestors made it possible. As a black woman knowing me history, my ancestors deserve to have their stories told collectively. America would not be America if not for the sacrifices of my ancestors, our ancestors. Through me and all of my talents, their story will be told.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If you come here to our city 9:00 Arrival at the Gault House Mahammad Ali Museum
10:00 Highland Morning for Breakfast Slugger Field Museum
11:00 Simpson Outlet Mall
1:00 Lunch at I Love Tacos in the Highlands
2:00 Walk around the Highlands to the shops
4:00 Movies / Snacks in the Highlands
6:30 Tram tour at Mega Caverns
8:00 Dinner at Drakes
If in New Orleans:
Food Visit Hangouts
Mother’s St. Joseph’s Plantation Bourbon Street
Melba’s Whitney Plantation
Loretta’s St. Laurel Plantation
Oceana’s Belle Ride down Mississippi
Eat on the Belle Ship Aquarium
Bourbon St Haunted Horse and Carriage tour
Dooky Chase Voo Doo Museum
9th Ward Museum
Children’s Science Museum
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My daughter, SeaAira Smith, deserves my shoutout. She is the reason why I am in the positions that I am in. I was in College at Alabama A&M University for 2 and a half years. I met her father who was in the service and we fell in love. He was deployed to Germany and after I had her, we moved there with him too. After a period of time, we had to move back because I knew that wasn’t my life. I moved back home with my parents and my daughter inspired me to get back and school and finish my degree. I finished taught at home for two years, then my daughter and I moved to Huntsville and I received my Master’s degree. My parents wanted us to go to HBCUS even though they went to white Universities. I felt like I had let them down and I did not want my daughter thinking that it was okay to start something and not finish it. SO I did it. I graduated from A&M and it was the best thing ever, the second time around because I literally did it with my daughter. She went to all of my classes with me. So I am who I am because of her and of course the influence of my mom and dad.
Facebook: The BLAQK Company, LLC Be Like A Queen – Be Like A King