Lisa Jones

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Lisa Jones
Born (1961-08-15) August 15, 1961 (age 61)
Alma materYale University and New York University
Years active1961–present
SpouseKenneth S. Brown
Parent(s)Hettie Jones and Amiri Baraka

Lisa Victoria Chapman Jones (born August 15, 1961)[1] is an American playwright, essayist, journalist, and memoirist.

Personal life and education[edit]

Jones grew up in New York City and Newark, New Jersey.[2] She is the daughter of poets Hettie Jones and Amiri Baraka (formerly known as LeRoi Jones).[3] Jones graduated from Yale University and received a MFA in Film from New York University. She married Kenneth S. Brown in 2004 and their daughter was born in 2005. She is Jewish.[4]

Her sister, Kellie Jones,[1] is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.[5] Jones has a half-brother, Newark, New Jersey, mayor Ras Baraka, and a half-sister, Dominique di Prima, from Amiri's relationship with di Prima's mother.[6][7]


Jones joined the staff of the Village Voice in 1984 and wrote for the paper for 15 years.[8] She was known for her "Skin Trade" columns in the Village Voice, a selection of which were published as a book, Bulletproof Diva,[9] in 1994.[10]

Published works[edit]

Jones published a memoir, Good Girl in a Bad Dress, in 1999.[11] She also co-wrote three books with Spike Lee, all companion books to his films: Uplift the Race: The Construction of School Daze,[12] published in 1988, Do the Right Thing, published in 1989,[13] and Mo' Better Blues,[14] published in 1990. Her essays have been widely anthologized. One anthology is Bulletproof Diva: Tales of Race, Sex and Hair.[15]


Jones wrote the plays Carmella & King Kong and Combination Skin while involved with the Rodeo Caldonia, a feminist collective of African-American women artists.[16][17] Combination Skin went on to premiere at Company One in Hartford, CT, in 1992. The New York Times Theater review called her "a fresh talent" and praised her "all-consuming vision".[18] Combination Skin was anthologized in Contemporary Plays by Women of Color.[2] Jones also created three works for the New American Radio series of National Public Radio: Aunt Aida's Hand (1989), Stained (1991), and Ethnic Cleansing (1993).[19] Aunt Aida's Hand and Stained were collaborations with Alva Rogers, who was also a Rodeo Caldonia member.[17][19] In 1995, Jones and Rogers received a joint choreography and creator Bessie Award for their collaborative work.[20]


  1. ^ a b Ellis, Trey (1988). Platitudes & "The new black aesthetic". Northeastern University Press, Ann Arbor. ISBN 1-55553-586-0
  2. ^ a b Perkins, Kathy and Uno, Roberta (1996). Contemporary Plays by Women of Color: an anthology. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-11378-4
  3. ^ Stetler, Carrie. "Still rebellious after all these years: Amiri Baraka turns 75, and Newark celebrates with five days of events", The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ, October 2, 2009.
  4. ^ Danquah, Meri Nana-Ama (June 29, 1994). "The World According to Lisa Jones : Literature: The essayist writes about a place where hair explains history and any woman with lip and nerve can be a 'bulletproof diva.'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  5. ^ "Kellie Jones Faculty Directory Department of Art History and Archaeology". Columbia University. Retrieved 2010-05-21.
  6. ^ "Amiri Baraka".
  7. ^ "City of Newark, NJ: Ras J. Baraka". City of Newark, New Jersey. Archived from the original on May 14, 2012.
  8. ^ Tate, Greg. "License to Ill: Black journalism in the pages of the 'Voice'", Village Voice, New York, October 18, 2005.
  9. ^ Jones, Lisa (1994). Bulletproof Diva: Tales of Race, Sex and Hair. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-47122-X
  10. ^ Solberg, Judy. "Prepub Alert", Library Journal, New York, December 1993.
  11. ^ Jones, Lisa (1999). Good Girl in a Bad Dress. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-375-50180-7
  12. ^ Jones, Lisa and Lee, Spike (1988). Uplift the Race: The Construction of School Daze. Fireside, New York. ISBN 0-671-64418-1
  13. ^ Jones, Lisa and Lee, Spike (1989). Do the Right Thing. Fireside, New York. ISBN 0-671-68265-2
  14. ^ Lee, Spike; Jones, Lisa (1990), Mo' Better Blues, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0-671-72570-9
  15. ^ "Bulletproof Diva: Tales of Race, Sex, and Hair".
  16. ^ Taumann, Beatrix (1999). Strange Orphans: Contemporary African American Women Playwrights. Würzburg, Königshausen & Neumann. ISBN 3-8260-1681-5
  17. ^ a b Shipp, E. R. "Their Muse Is Malcolm X", New York Times, December 4, 1988.
  18. ^ Klein, Alvin. "Theater Review: In the 90's, Questions Of Color And Identity", New York Times, October 18, 1992.
  19. ^ a b "Lisa Jones and Alva Rogers: Stained". Archived from the original on 2009-12-27. Retrieved 2010-05-21.
  20. ^ "'Bessies' Go to New Artists and Philip Glass", New York Times, September 18, 1995.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]