CJ Jones was born with the ability to hear but due to spinal meningitis, he became deaf and his first language was American sign language. With support from his parents and perseverance to go against the naysayers, he performed a one-man show, became a stand-up comedian and made his way to the big screen with a role in Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver (which he receivd out of over a thousand non-deaf actors) and the forthcoming Avatar sequel.
Since then, he has become an advocate for the inclusion of the disabled community in film and TV, a marginalized community that has been underrepresented and underserved in Hollywood. He has done that by leading by example. He said that his inability to hear is a medical model and that it’s about “looking at an individual with their gifts and them telling a story they haven’t seen before.”
At CAA Amplify, he took the stage and shared a passionate story about his journey to Hollywood and how he brought his 94-year-old mother to see him in Baby Driver which ended her in tears of joy. He said to her that she inspired him to succeed with her words and he wanted to succeed for her. Unfortunately, one week later, his mother passed.
Jones said, “I’m not waiting for Hollywood” when it comes to reaching his dreams. He looks to hire disabled people and be a producer. He launched the company Sign World Media and he said his goal is to serve innovative deaf people to work in post-production. Jones is also a creator of Na’vi Sign Language in Avatar.
“I strive to reach the world,” Jones said. “There are 300 million disabled individuals in the world — they have the same dream. They are disabled but are abled and have the ability to share their stories.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.