Van Jones is one of the many people to have appeared on CNN in the past few years to share their opinion on a wide range of topics. The news commentator earned his place on screen after having worked as a lawyer and political activist for a number of years, as well as serving as a Special Adviser for Green Jobs to U.S. President Barack Obama.
Jones, who no longer practices as an attorney, used to co-host the CNN political debate show, Crossfire. He has since moved on to host his very own show called The Van Jones Show. The New York Times bestselling author has over the years been recognized for his works. In 2009, he was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. The following year, he received the NAACP President’s award to add to his long list of recognitions.
Early Life and Education of Van Jones
On the 20th of September, 1968, in Jackson, Tennessee, Loretta Jean (née Kirkendoll) and her husband Willie Anthony Jones welcomed a set of twin children – a boy and a girl whom they named Anthony and Angela. The boy’s full name is Anthony Kapel Jones and he only began to go by the name “Van” when he was in his late teens.
Both of Van Jones’ parents are academics. His mum taught at a high school while his father rose to become the principal of a middle school. Due to this, it was no surprise to see that his parents ensured that he and his sister had a very good education.
Jones attended Jackson Central-Merry High School in Jackson, Tennessee. Upon completing his high school education in 1986, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Martin where he completed the requirements to be awarded a degree in Communication and Political Science. Jones would later return to school in the early 90s to study law. He attended the prestigious Yale Law School, graduating with his Juris Doctor degree in 1993.
His Work as a Lawyer and How He Found His Way To News Commentary
While still studying at the University of Tennessee at Martin, Van Jones interned at various news establishments as he nurtured interest to build a journalism career. Some of the news firms he worked with include the Nashville bureau of the Associated Press, Shreveport Times in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the Jackson Sun in Jackson, Tennessee. He is also credited with starting several campus-based, independent publications at his alma mater.
As a student at Yale, after having decided against getting a journalism degree, Jones was among those selected to serve as legal observers in the trial of the four officers that beat up Rodney King in Los Angeles on March 3, 1991. His work as a part of this team propelled him to move to San Francisco after graduating where he worked on various human rights and police brutality related cases. He further founded quite a number of advocacy and non-governmental organizations to help push the cause.
Several years later, Van Jones, who had some time in the mid-2000s begun to pay interest to environmentalism and had served in the White House Council on Environmental Quality in the Obama Administration, found his way back to work in the media. This happened when CNN brought him in as a co-host for its Crossfire show in 2013. Crossfire turned out to be unsuccessful and it was canceled in the following year. This, however, did not deter Jones who continued to appear as a regular news commentator on the channel.
In 2016, he launched the news documentary series titled The Messy Truth on CNN. He then went on to create The Van Jones Show in 2018, whose first episode was widely viewed and featured none other than rap icon, Jay Z.
Apart from his endeavors as an attorney and news commentator, Van Jones is also the pioneer president of the advocacy project, Rebuild the Dream. He also serves as the President of The Dream Corps which aims to empower the vulnerable and less privileged members of society.
Jones’ apt writing skills can not be left out in his numerous abilities as the talented Tennessee native has authored several widely acclaimed books and articles. Two of his books – The Green Collar Economy and Rebuild the Dream, have gone on to become New York Times bestsellers.
Facts about His Sexuality and Wife
It has become the norm to speculate about the lives of people in the spotlight, specifically their sexual preference. With Van Jones, however, there’s no need to speculate any longer as we can confirm that the news commentator is unequivocally straight.
A testament to this is the fact that the author and TV personality was previously married to Jana Carter, a fellow social activist and attorney who is the daughter of the younger brother of former US President Jimmy Carter. The couple got married in 2005 and after spending 13 years together, they ended their marriage. The union was blessed with two boys; Mattai and Cabral Jones who they intend to raise together despite their divorce.