TRUTHSAYERS: ROBERT JONES JR. – CREATOR OF SON OF BALDWIN
Robert Jones, Jr. is the creator and curator of Son of Baldwin, an online community that aims to be an honest, inclusive, and self-reflecting space to critically discuss topics such as race, sexuality, gender, and disability from the Black queer perspective. While reading James Baldwin’s “Here Be Dragons” as a freshman at Brooklyn College, Jones was inspired to continue Baldwin’s work of dismantling the human-made structures that oppress marginalized groups. He created Son of Baldwin in 2008 as a place to understand and combat injustices and inequalities through meaningful conversations on oppression and privilege. Son of Baldwin currently has over 250,000 followers across all of its various platforms.
Robert Jones, Jr. has become well-known for his unapologetic yet sincere and relatable tone. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times and Essence. Jones has also spoken about navigating his way through the complexities of Black manhood as a Black queer man. He has also discussed his experience as a Black writer in a white patriarchal America. In 2018, he was featured in The New York Times Magazine as one of the “Black Male Writers For Our Time,” alongside 31 other distinguished writers who are producing literature essential to understanding America.
In Jones’s entry into literary fiction, he delivers a powerful historical love story that explores Black homosexuality and gender fluidity, centering around the forbidden relationship between two enslaved Black young men on a cotton plantation in antebellum Mississippi. The Prophets is the reimagining of America’s slavery and exploitation that has fostered violence, greed, cruelty, and injustice. Beautifully written with lyrical yet incisive prose, The Prophets was named as one of the 2021 books to read by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and TIME, and received rave reviews from critics.