I first heard about Tracey Ferguson back in 2006 while doing media research on black women back in business school. Tracey started Jones magazine, a fashion and lifestyle shopping guide for affluent black women in Houston in 2005. Months after I heard about Jones, a friend introduced me to Tracey, not knowing that I was already familiar with her magazine. I was so intrigued by Jones that I ended up doing an independent study on the magazine. The thought of having a high fashion magazine for black women on the newsstands was exciting, and it was quite clear that Jones was bigger than Houston.
Tracey and I stayed in touch and have become friends over the years. Her story is interesting, yet tragic. She graduated from Abilene Christian University with a BA and MA in Communications and later experienced the devastating loss of her second husband who suddenly died from a heart attack shortly after they were married. Despite her tragedies, Tracey has proven to be resilient. A strong mother of two teenagers, she somehow finds time to run a magazine, create a new show, and travel the world as often as she can. Not to mention, her extraordinary style can’t be denied, as when you meet her, you just assume she is a celebrity due to her awe-inspiring eye for fashion.
When Tracey shared with me a reality TV show treatment called “Keeping Up with the Joneses” back in late 2007, it was clear it was destined to happen. It was just a matter of time before Centric (the BET J and VH-1 Soul collab. network) targeting a more upscale black audience, would launch and be the perfect fit for “Keeping Up with the Joneses” (the name, by the way, was picked way before anyone heard of E!’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”). The “docu-soap” will focus on Tracey, her talented teenagers Kendall and Josh, and the Jones staff as they re-launch the quarterly magazine nationwide.
So, will “Keeping Up with the Joneses” be the new show we “Jones” for? Will Jones magazine become the Vogue or In Style for black women? Check out the premiere of “Keeping Up with the Joneses” tonight, Thursday, April 8th on Centric TV network and pick up Jones magazine on April 15th on news stands everywhere — and tell us what you think! Regardless, we congratulate Tracey and Jones for bringing more diverse images of black women to television and print.