Calvin Klein praised for including first black transqueer model as part of Pride campaign

26 June 2020 - 13:11 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Jari Jones said inclusivity in the Calvin Klein Pride campaign wasn't just for her, but also for the next generation.
Jari Jones said inclusivity in the Calvin Klein Pride campaign wasn't just for her, but also for the next generation.
Image: Jari Jones/Instagram

American fashion house Calvin Klein has made history by including its first black transqueer and plus-sized model as part of this year's Pride campaign, honouring the LGBTQI+ community.

Jari Jones, an actress, model and activist, was this week revealed as one of the members who has joined the brand for the campaign. In a now viral post, the model, who identifies as a transqueer lesbian, can be seen celebrating the moment in front of a huge billboard of herself.

“There are moments heard about, that help you forget when the world told you 'never',” Jones wrote on Instagram. “There are these moments I heard about that help you heal when society has tried to beat you down, over and over again. I’ve been searching my whole life for those moments. I got tired of looking for those moments.”

Jones said inclusivity in the campaign wasn't just for her, but also for the next generation.

“I decided to create these moments not for me but for the next dreamer, outcast, queer, trans, disabled, fat, beautiful black piece of starlight waiting for their moment to shine,” she said.

“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.

“I present this image, myself and all that my body stands for, to my community and chosen family in the hope they see themselves more clearly than ever, and further realise they are worthy of celebration, of compassion, of love and gratitude,” she said.

Jones acknowledged the hate and scrutiny the campaign received, saying she wasn't bothered by “things and miserable people behind computers and phone screens who try to suck out every ounce of joy I have left in my body”.

Added to the large billboards, Calvin Klein shared a video series featuring model Ama Elsesser, actor Tommy Dorfman, and singer Gia Woods, among others.

On social media, Calvin Klein got the thumbs up for shining a light on transgender people.