June marks Black Music Month, and The Roots kickstarted the celebration with quite a bang.
On June 3 and June 4, 2023, the legendary hip-hop group held its annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia, PA. The festival featured special moments such as Ms. Lauryn Hill celebrating the 25th anniversary of “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” the Fugees reuniting, and fellow headliner Usher bringing out some of Philly’s biggest stars, Jazmine Sullivan and Eve.
One of the artists featured on the star-studded lineup was Coco Jones, who performed alongside Emmy award-winning musical director Adam Blackstone and Grammy award-winning gospel duo, Mary Mary.
The Roots Picnic is one of the numerous festivals that the R&B singer and actress has been on the bill for — Strength of A Woman Festival, ESSENCE Fest, and Broccoli City Festival, just to name a few. What’s more, the wins that Jones has tirelessly worked hard for have yet to cease for nearly a year.
Specifically, 2023 has been a year of many firsts for Jones, from making her debut appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 with her breakout single, “ICU” to the same record going No. 1 on Billboard Mainstream Hip-Hop/R&B Airplay and earning her first Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Gold certification.
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While the spotlight has been steadily beaming on Jones, it’s far from her first wind of career success. Back in 2010, she was featured on Radio Disney’s “Next Big Thing.” Two years later, at age 14, Jones starred in the Disney Channel’s “Let It Shine.” Although the film was a hit on the network, her career didn’t continue to take speed the way she envisioned.
In a YouTube live stream in September 2020, Jones openly shared that not only did the initially proposed sequel for the film fall through but she also didn’t receive the same support as her fellow Disney Channel singers/actresses despite her immense talent.
During the rollercoaster ride that came with being a child star, her mother, Javonda Jones, was right by her side. During the “R&B Money” podcast, Jones recalled her mother protecting her in the industry as her manager at the time. One of the situations Jones says she was shielded from was not fully signing on with Disney Channel and not having her own show. Ultimately, it saved her from being stuck under the Disney umbrella and being unable to have the longevity she desired.
Now, at age 25, all of the business moves made in Jones’ career lead back to Mark 8:36, a Bible verse that her mom instilled in her early on. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?,” the scripture reads.
“It’s not like somebody’s like, ‘I will come take your soul from you,’ but it’s little things that I know don’t feel right,” Jones explained to AfroTech. “And I can always go back to that little girl who just wanted something that she thought was good and my mom was protecting me and making that tough call for me. And I go back to that confusion and fear that this was the only good thing left.”
She continued, “But I have to trust that what does it gain me to do something for other people who look at me like a dollar sign, don’t really know me, don’t really care about my wellbeing, who just wanna come up off me? What good is it for me to do this for them with nothing in return? Gain the world, lose my soul — lose me.”
Watching her mother’s evolution navigating the business has helped her in her own journey about learning how to be selfless but also make tough calls and put business first. Additionally, the knowledge Jones gained has played a significant role in how she goes about taking on brand partnerships.
What moves her in partnering with companies is always keeping in mind what the end goal is as she’s not looking for a quick bag. The budding businesswoman aims for focusing on strategies that lead to long-term wealth.
What’s more, education and research are at the forefront of how she goes about her finances.
“I really want to understand where my money is going,” Jones said. “I’m not the type to be like, ‘Hey, as long as I got [this amount.] I’m like, ‘No, where did that $2 go?”
“I want to know everything because some artists really walk away with nothing,” she added. “And some people only work for a brief amount of time and are good for the rest [of their life]. So I’m like, let me just make sure I’m educated here.”
As she embarks on building a legacy, she has been in grind mode. However, outside of music and acting, she shared with AfroTech that she’s looking to get into investing in real estate, starting off within her home state of Tennessee. She also plans to do research to make smart investments and to tap into her entrepreneur side similar to fellow artists like Rihanna.
As for in the near future, she exclusively shared with AfroTech that her fans can expect to catch her headlining her own tour at either the end of summer or early fall 2023.