|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 85 - Monday August 14, 2006
|Dominica's Ambassador at Large - Dr. Bobby Jones |
Dominican.net News Desk
In March of 2006, news outlets in the United States reported that gospel music icon Dr. Bobby Jones was appointed by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to the post of ambassador at large of Dominica.
Appointed to a three-year term, Jones assumed his responsibilities as ambassador of Dominica last January. According to an official Dominica government document signed by Skerrit, Jones is “authorized to negotiate on Dominica’s behalf (in the) procurement and financing of projects with the potential for carrying forward the economic and infrastructural development program of the government of Dominica.”
Jones was recommended for the job after meeting with several of Dominica’s cabinet members and discussing the need for increased tourism and economic growth in the small country. Moreover, Dominica’s government officials were particularly impressed with Jones’ charitable work in the United States with the American Heart Association, the Diabetes Association and the Lupus Foundation.
Internationally known for his outstanding contributions to the gospel music industry, Jones will utilize his effectiveness as a TV and radio personality to encourage potential investors and financiers to explore investment opportunities in Dominica. “Through the medium of television, radio and personal appearances, I will be able to get the message of my assignment to the masses,” said Jones in an acceptance letter to Skerrit. “I will work very hard to make a real contribution as ambassador at large,” promised Jones who accepted the post as a working position and not an honorary one.
Dr. Bobby Jones has been with BET since the company started in 1980. He dominates Sunday programming as the host and executive producer of Bobby Jones Gospel, and producer of Video Gospel. Bobby Jones Gospel, for which he is best known, has been seen on BET since November 1980 and is one of the network's most popular shows. Every Sunday, Jones along with the New Life Singing Aggregation performs contemporary gospel music and welcomes an array of gospel artists such as Kirk Franklin, John P. Kee, Yolanda Adams, The Canton Spirituals, Hezekiah Walker and more.
Jones has revolutionized the gospel music industry. Bobby Jones Gospel is the first and only nationally syndicated black gospel television show and Video Gospel, which debuted in 1989, is the only national television outlet gospel artists have to show their videos. Born in Henry County, Tenn., Jones always dreamt of a career in music. He excelled academically throughout school, graduating from high school at 15 and Tennessee State University at 19 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Jones continued his education by pursuing a master's degree at Tennessee State and a doctorate from Vanderbilt. While pursuing his master's, Jones taught elementary school in the Missouri and Tennessee education systems.
In his teaching days, Jones helped develop the idea for a Black Expo in Nashville, Tenn. (Black Expo is a fair held in cities across the country which focuses on the contributions African Americans have made to their communities.) During the effort, Jones introduced the pilot for what is now Bobby Jones Gospel to WSMV-TV in Nashville. WSMV-TV picked up the show that Jones created, produced and hosted. It ran in Nashville from 1976 until it was picked up be BET for national syndication in 1980.
During this period, Jones also created, produced and hosted Bobby Jones World, a magazine-style show that incorporated gospel music with world-renowned authors, entertainers and national leaders. Bobby Jones World ran from 1978-1984. Jones has extended his talents into the television and movie arena. In 1982, Jones made his television movie debut in NBC's Sisters, Sisters starring Diahann Carroll, Paul Winfield and Irene Cara. In 1980 he wrote and performed in Make A Joyful Noise, a black gospel opera which aired on PBS; and in 1983, he was a guest on country music star Ronnie Milsap's television special, In Celebration.
In 1980, Jones received The Gabriel Award and an International Film Festival Award for writing and performing Make A Joyful Noise. He and his group, New Life, were nominated for a Grammy Award in 1982 for "Best Performance by a Black Contemporary Gospel Group" for the album Soul Set Free. In 1984, he received the Gospel Music Association's (GMA) Dove Award for Black Contemporary Album of the Year, a Grammy Award for "Best Vocal Duo for a Soul/Gospel Performance" for the single, I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today performed with country music star Barbara Mandrell, and an NAACP Image Award. In 1990 he received the GMA's Commonwealth Award for Outstanding Contribution to Gospel Music. In 1994, Jones was nominated for the CableACE Award. He resides in Nashville, Tennessee.