Bonnita “BeBe” Jones is a style maven, blogger and entrepreneur. She is also the CEO of Row A Seat 1. (photo by Charles Smith/JSU)
By LATOYA HENTZ-MOORE
For BeBe Jones, fashion fulfills her purpose
Fashion blogger, style maven and entrepreneur Bonnita “BeBe” Jones has spent the last two decades fulfilling her purpose. As a young child, she was affectionately nicknamed BeBe by her family. Jones says, “It works well for branding purposes, and I feel like it flows with the path that I’ve taken.”
Jones’ journey began as a mass communications student at Jackson State University. While working for the campus newspaper, she incorporated her passion for fashion with her journalism skills and created fashion layouts in the Blue and White Flash.
“I didn’t see what I had an interest in, so I just made my own way,” says Jones. “That paper was my social media. Each time I passed it around campus, it went viral.”
Directly after graduating from JSU, she pursued her second degree in fashion merchandising.
Walking by Faith: Row A Seat 1
After interning at Ebony Magazine, Jones was able to combine her love for fashion and journalism by writing for publications including N’Digo Magpaper, Sister2Sister Magazine, Savoymag. com, and TheFashionSpot.com. In 2008, the unimaginable happened, she was laid off from her dream job at N’Digo Magpaper, and other opportunities to write about fashion became limited.
She decided to walk by faith, creating her own avenue as the CEO of the blog Row A Seat 1. “I definitely believe in following my dreams and doing what makes me happy. Once I’m constantly thinking and dreaming about something, I know that’s what my purpose is supposed to be.”
In 2009, Jones attended New York Fashion Week as a volunteer. During this time, the 28-year old and her friend Kristen would make bets regarding what celebrity would be sitting on the front row of the infamous show. After working at NYFW for seven days, Jones flew home. While on the plane, she remembers looking through a magazine and seeing the phrase, front row. “I thought to myself, that’s a pretty cool name, and then it just came to me–Row A Seat 1.”
The vision behind Row A Seat 1, Jones explained, is that if a person is sitting in that space, then that person is very exclusive. The style maven then used her idea to focus on giving black, Chicago-area, creatives a voice. “I instantly familiarized myself with all the black designers, stylists, photographers, models, and other bloggers in Chicago.”
Jones continued, “When I transitioned to being a stylist, I already knew everyone in the Chicago industry because of my blog. Row A Seat 1 gave me the foundation to do what I love. This journey has been so rewarding. I know this is my purpose.”
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w/ @yazzthegreatest Photographer || @shaunandru & @_ashonty Stylist || @BeBe_Jones for @RowASeat1 Stylist Asst. || @_fashionablyjai Wardrobe || @iridiumlife and @villa_hydepark Male Grooming || @kimoramulan Haircut || @warrencutz *********************************************** #fashion #style #beauty #stylist #stylemaven #photoshoot #ChicagoKids #trends #Chicago #yazzthegreatest #brysheregray #blackboyjoy #nyfw #fashionwriter #chicagoblogger #girlboss #trendsetter #femaleentrepreneur #iridiumlife #VillaHydePark #timberlands #RowASeat1 #IAmBeBeJones
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For me, the beauty about writing down your dreams and goals is processing it all through THE WAIT. Have you ever watched things you’ve written down manifest right before your eyes? It’s an extremely humbling experience, and I’m grateful to have had countless moments like this during my journey! - - But, many of these Beautiful Moments happened for me because of great friends who believe in me as much as I do! - - Yeah! I’m still on Cloud 9 after receiving the call from my dear heart Marcellas Reynolds (Super Stylist + Author of @suprememodelsbook) who asked me to style him & Legendary Supermodel, Veronica Webb for the December cover of @chicagosplash - WOW! When I tell y’all I wouldn’t trade this journey for NOTHING in the world... Believe me! I know I’m right where I’m suppose to be in life!- - Muses | @veronicawebb + @marqueemarc Photographer | @mariaponcephoto Stylist | @bebe_jones of @rowaseat1 | Special Thank you to @neimanmarcusmichiganavenue #neimanmarcus + @macys #macysonstatestreet HMUA | @kerreberryhmua + @opt1artists
Using the journey to leave a legacy
The fashion stylist says she meditates a lot and truly believes that when you center yourself with your spiritual side, opportunities will happen faster for you.
“I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to help so many people, so soon,” says Jones. “I have really centered myself and manifested the things that are happening in my life.”
Jones continues to speak with passion saying, “Helping others and making connections mean the world to me. I am happiest when I can help someone. I try to meet people and form these relationships because I know that they matter. I’m not just doing it for me. I am doing it for my legacy. I don’t want any kids, but the youth that I know, I want to make sure that I am empowering them and able to place them in opportunities that weren’t afforded to me.”
“My ultimate goal is to walk away from this industry with a perfect foundation for others. I want their journey to be easier because of the sacrifices I’ve made.”
The Gibbs-Green Effect
“It’s been 50 years since the tragedies of the Gibbs-Green shooting that took place on Jackson State’s campus, and sadly, these repetitive acts of racism have grown to fester into my generation, and beyond.”
The Chicago native continued, “The Gibbs-Green tragedy hits home for me because it’s parallel to many heinous crimes I’ve witnessed growing up on the South Side of Chicago. The only difference is their stories received media coverage, and my friends didn’t. It’s almost an expectation here in the land of the free and home of the brave.”
“The yard always felt safe when I attended. I know that’s because of their sacrifices. I know that Phillip Gibbs and James Green are watching over each generation that matriculates through JSU.”