Jennifer Jones, the first Black Rockette, writing a children’s book about her life

Jones was the first Black Rockette to dance in the 1988 Super Bowl XXII halftime show in San Diego.

The trailblazing story of the first Black Rockette is coming to life in a children’s book.

According to the Rockland/Westchester Journal News, Jennifer Jones hopes her trailblazing story, “On the Line: My Story of Becoming the First African American Rockette,” will inspire a new generation in the same way that “The Wiz” inspired her.

“I hope I can do that for other children. If they can see me on stage or see me talk and have that want and I can put that fire in them,” said Jones. “I think that’s one of the most amazing things that I can ever do in my lifetime.”

Jennifer Jones children's book
Jennifer Jones was the first Black Rockette to dance in the 1988 Super Bowl XXII halftime show in San Diego. Now, she’s releasing a children’s book about her life. (Screenshot/ Rockettes)

Jones was the first Black Rockette to dance in the 1988 Super Bowl XXII halftime show in San Diego. Later that year, she joined the legendary kickline as a fill-in during the Christmas Spectacular and departed the ensemble in 2002.

While she has accomplished great things, her life would have been different if she had listened to the wrong people, including a grocery store clerk who chastised her for performing back-flaps in the aisles. She would have skipped the line outside Radio City Music Hall when none of the other dancers were of her skin tone.

Instead, she chose to listen to her parents, Booker and Linda, who took Jones and her sister to see the original Broadway production of “The Wiz” several times.

She also listened to her first dance teachers, who opened up a whole new universe to a girl who found herself dancing everywhere she went, rehearsing on a piece of linoleum in the family basement.

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Most importantly, she listened to herself, to the voice in her gut telling her to stay in the Radio City line all those years ago. “It’s a lesson for parents to instill in your children that what you want and what your passion is matters,” said Jones.

Her passion powered her 15-year career as a Rockette and her desire to relate her experience to a children’s book — a two-year editorial experience she described as “surreal.”

Jones has conducted book signings, complete with a kickline lesson. She has more signings and events scheduled across metro New York this holiday season and for Black History Month in February.

The Journal News reported that Jones has a soft spot for two of Robert Paul Jr.’s drawings in particular. “The first one is on the page that reads ‘That was the day I fell all the way in love with dancing.’ I feel like I’m hugging that feeling,” she shared. “The other one is the last illustration where the mother is reading to her daughter. And I’m hoping that the last question — What will your story be? — sparks a conversation between parents and children.”

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