Hands Across Communications
(about the non-profit organization)
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As an entertainer, CJ Jones has done just about everything, from performing a Tony Award winning play on National Tour, to directing Deaf kids from high school to kindergarten in their own productions. He has acted in TV, written several one-man shows that have toured the US and internationally, and gives motivational speeches to colleges and companies. In short, CJ is CEO, producer, director, writer, actor, comedian, and musician.
CJ was born in St. Louis, MO, one of seven hearing children born to Deaf parents. At age 7 he was struck very ill with spinal meningitis, and consequently lost his hearing. After he became deaf, he tried an oral education in a local school, though after a short time he attended Missouri School for the Deaf, where he graduated High School.
After High School, CJ attended National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, NY. The summer after NTID, CJ joined the National Theater for the Deaf, where he toured nationally with main stage plays and Little Theater of the Deaf.
Cast as Orin in “Children of a Lesser God”, he toured USA and Canada for 2 years, and garnered a group Tony award for their performances. He has also appeared on NBC’s “Frasier,” ABC Family’s “Lincoln Heights,” the PBS television shows “Sesame Street” and “Rainbow’s End,” and was the host of “Happy Hands Kids Klub.” He has even done voice over roles, voicing a Deaf Indian (played by a hearing actor) in a movie called “PathFinder” from 20th Century Fox. CJ is one of 4 Deaf performers showcased in the 2010 documentary “See What I’m Saying”, directed by Hilari Scarl. CJ also appeared “Through Deaf Eyes” on PBS. This year CJ got a big role as “Joseph” in the movie called “Baby Driver”. It will be released March 2017.
In addition, CJ can rightly add educator and advocate to his credits. He heads Hands Across Communications (www.handsacrosscommunications.com) to produce events for international deaf artists to share their talents and receive recognition for their artistic work. The goal is to make their dream come true through performances on stage.
He founded Sign World Media to help broaden the opportunities for Deaf people in entertainment, providing Sign Language and accessible programming. His DVD, “What Are You…Deaf?” is on sale at: www.cjjoneslive.com
CJ was honored with an “Unsung Hero Award of the Year” for Black History Month, 2008 – sponsored by KCET-WAMU of Los Angeles.
CJ also was honored with “NTID Alumni Association Outstanding Award 2008″, presented by National Technical Institute of the Deaf – Rochester Institute of Technology at Rochester New York.
CJ was honored again in 2011 with “In Recognition of Outstanding Service to the Deaf Community”, presented by The Spirit of Excellence Award Banquet.
This year 2013 CJ will receive “Nevil Award” presented by Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. He also will be the Graduation speaker for 2013 WPSD students.
During 2011, CJ was a consultant with Downtown Disney to host Deaf celebrities, performers, dancers, storytellers, and more… on March 16 – 18, 2012 at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California. He is also a consultant with a new short film project called “Championship Rounds”.
CJ was the MC for the “Ice Age Palace” at the Beverly Center in Beverly Hills, California.
When not pursuing these goals, he takes his one-man show (www.cjjoneslive.com) on the road! For more than 35 years, CJ has shared his talents with Deaf and hearing schools, events, and universities across the country and around the world. Having appeared on Broadway stage, in television, video, and on the big screen, he has experienced what he calls the “double whammy” of being an actor who is both deaf and black. CJ vigorously spreads the message to students and adults alike, that being different does not mean being less worthwhile.
CJ has performed his one-man show in Ecuador, Japan, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the US Virgin Islands, and in every state in the union. He has performed in hundreds of elementary, high schools, universities, colleges, conventions, and many events across the continent, inspiring hearing and deaf, young and old.
UPDATE: Tour Schedule … go to www.CJJones.com