Written by | Ray Cornelius
Tonight is the season finale of WEtv’s newest docu-series “Sisters in Law” and I can honestly say that I can’t wait to see how it all goes down. These five African-American female lawyers were fabulous and unapologetically fierce this premiere season. Each one provided television viewers with a number of “oh no she didn’t” moments as well as some unique and sometimes daunting looks at law and order in Houston, Texas.
I had a chance to binge watch the series last weekend in preparation for my interview this week with breakout star Jolanda Jones and was completely hooked. Their cases and clients were compelling enough that I kept watching episode after juicy episode. I also enjoyed watching the ladies’ competitive spirit in and out of the courtroom and Jones played a big part in that. Not only does she naturally stand out (have you seen those legs?) but I could really appreciate her activistic nature and “come hell or high water” approach to justice for all of her clients. Check out my one-on-one interview below with Miss Jolanda Jones:
This is your second time appearing on an unscripted series. What made you decide to do it again?
I thought it was an opportunity for Black women, who all for the most part started without nothing and all worked really hard, to be seen as professional business women. In a business where we fight for the disenfranchised, we thought it was another option for young people and Black women and I thought that was really important. Also, we’re not on TV because we have a viral video and we’re not on TV because we’re someone’s baby mama. We’re also not on TV because we married some rich guy or girl for that matter. We’re on TV because people think that the work that we do with our brains is important enough to be on television.
You and Rhonda Wills seem to have a love/hate relationship going on throughout the season. Explain your friendship?
Your friends are your friends. Either you accept them for who they are or they’re not your friends. Yes I know that Rhonda is going to interrupt people but that’s just what she does. I know that Rhonda is going to scream and yell and be dramatic. Quite frankly, Rhonda makes me laugh. She makes me laugh because she judges everything and everybody and that’s like the total antithesis of me. Everything she has to have is really, really expensive and everything I have is absolutely cheap because I just don’t want to be poor when I get older. I can deal with Rhonda.
You were very open about your romantic relationship with your best friend, Charisse and your activism within the LGBT community. Were you an advocate before coming out?
I have been advocating for the LGBT community every since I was a law student back in 1994 at the University of Houston. I also interned at the NAACP Legal Clinic and worked with the Ryan White Foundation. I drafted wills for people with full-blown AIDS. So I have been an activist for a long time. It’s funny because I raised my son to love everyone including LGBT people long before I came out. So when I realized I was LGBT, it didn’t traumatize him.
The timing of the show coincides with the Sandra Bland case and you all held a town hall meeting on the show to discuss it. Was that suggested by you or the producers?
At the end of the day, I have been doing this since forever. Like I literally have been giving civilian rights trainings since 1999. I am the only lawyer on the show who is an activist. I think others are now starting to be activists but I have given trainings all over; at churches and Texas College of Law in Spanish for immigrants because they get targeted as well. The Sandra Bland thing was not staged. Waller County is right up the street where she was killed and it was really a bad look for them. So they were trying to explain why they did what they did and explain what the status of the investigation is and we already had a townhall set and they had already asked me to be on the panel.
Do you feel that ‘Sisters in Law’ has helped or hurt your career?
I don’t think the show has hurt me. I think people have courtside seats to our personal lives which they otherwise wouldn’t have. One of the really interesting things I’ve seen and actually had to learn myself in real-life was that we all have disagreements. We all have disagreements with our sisters and brothers or with our moms and sometimes our friends. And for people to say, “awww we can’t believe you are arguing or whatever” is not fair. At the end of the day (in the real world), people will argue with each other and you either get over it or you don’t. So I think it’s unfair for people to expect us to live in a pretend world. Some of us like some people more than others.
You and the other criminal defense lawyers were teased a lot throughout the season for helping get guilty people off. Do you think that’s a fair assessment?
The Constitution says (and this is educational) that the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person did what they said they did, when they said they did it, where they said they did it and how they said they did it. So if the state can’t prove that then it’s not my fault that my client goes free. Don’t put that off on me if a guilty person goes free. I’m like, “government do your job.” They have all the resources so they should be able to prove their cases. And I don’t feel bad about that. Yes, I represent some people who have done some bad things or stupid things but I also represent people who were wrongfully charged and profiled. At the end of the day, I am going to make sure the government does what the Constitution said it’s supposed to do and if they can’t do it then shame on them.
Catch Jolanda Jones on “Sisters in Law” TONIGHT at 10 p.m. EST on WEtv!
Photo Credits: WEtv.com