Have You Met Miss Jones?: The Life and Loves of Radio’s Most Controversial Diva

(One World/Ballantine/Random House)

In the last year, women behind the scenes in hip-hop are unabashedly writing about what goes on behind the bling curtain. What was once considered sacred is not up for grabs and readers are more than eager to discover what truly goes on. Karrine Steffans set it off last year with “Confessions of a Video Vixen” (Amistad/HarperCollins) and Nas’s baby mama Carmen Bryan revealed all the drama in "It's No Secret" (VH-1) at the expense of some of hip-hop royalty. Now it’s Tara’s turn. Miss Jones if you please. Meet the unofficial, official queen of radio. Unofficially because nemesis Wendy Williams won’t share the crown. Jonesy, as she is affectionately called, is the morning stalk show host at Hot 97-FM Miss Jones in the Morning, where Funkmaster Flex and Angie Martinez reside.

Queen of the Airwaves Tarsha Nicole Jones

The road to stardom had more bumps than the freeway. Tarsha Nicole Jones grew up with her two older sisters in New York City’s Astoria projects to an absentee father, a domineering alcoholic mother and stepfather. To say that she had a rocky start is putting it mildly. The soon to be morning talk show host wasn’t even suppose to make it out of Astoria Projects. Jonesy grew up in an abusive household which led to destructive intimate relationships that deals with to this day. She found love when she gave birth to Jalen which was the first step in getting her life in order. But before any of the good can happen, Jonesy went through a horrendous ordeal every step of the way.

One of the few bright moments in her life was getting accepted at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art, providing her valuable musical training. From, there she graduated with a bechlor's in music from Syracuse University. Jonesy intended to be an R&B singer but a funny thing happened on the way to success. She met a lot of the leading men in hip-hop who would both help and betray her. These same guys that would come to her aid, whether it was money or a place to crash, were the same ones who made sure she received a pittance from royalties and harsh treatment. Doug E. Fresh was the first to teach Jonesy an expensive lesson in making sure you get ALL of your money. He also led her on to believe that she is his only one while dismissing the fact that he had babies by two different women  who were born right after the other. She did make history in being the first female member of the Get Fresh Crew. Her involvement with Doug set up a blueprint for the other men who she would meet, both in the business and not. She broke through in music but success came in the form of then general manager of HOT 97-FM Steve Smith when he said: ‘You have a great sound. Have you ever thought of doing radio?’ That was the upstart, and a tumultuous beginning, of her career at the radio station that received a lot of heat for making fun of the people who died in the 2004 Tsunami when the DJs, minus Miss Jones, made a pardoy song of the tragedy. Jonesy does admit culpability, for the record Miss Jones neither wrote nor sang or contributed to the shameful song, in allowing the offensive song to play for three straight days. She got a lot of heat from the executives which lead to a temporary suspension. Receiving no support from anyone at the station, Jonesy was left all her own to fight off the people who felt she didn’t deserve to be HOT 97-FM, let alone a DJ.

'Miss Jones in the Morning' is the #1 radio show at HOT 97-FM in New York

The selling point of her book was to emphasize her liaisons with rappers Busta Rhymes and Doug E. Fresh. Of course that’s good gossip to know, especially hearing that Busta Bus wasn’t all that in bed, but the main focus is how she survived that entire BS that came her way. The New York native went through every form of abuse, dealt with insensitive backstabbers at HOT 97-FM, vehmently defended herself to Wendy Williams, repeatedly, and trying not losing herself in the damn process. All the external and self-inflicted damage she endured that gave her a thick skin but probably severely bruised her spirit. It’s difficult to imagine the hostility and blatant antagonistic manner she put with to keep her job. Everyone has been there. Never mind the major health concerns that developed, she had a tumor removed from her jaw and went through a painful birth delivery, Jonesy was getting knocked out at every angle and managed, god only knows how, to push forward. She did fall many times but also got up as much.

Jonesy looking at her finest

Jonesy became successful but it wasn’t easy reaching the pinnacle of success when there are haters all around just waiting for you to screw up. Her story is the nightmare many women have about not being accepted or purposefully looked over, at work. In the early days of her radio career, she had people lie to her face without remorse or shame. One nausating incident was instigated by program director Tracy Cloherty and general manager Judy Ellis who double teamed Tarsha to apologize to her crude talk show host Troi Torain, Star from Star and Buc Wild radio team.

The face that will launch a million book sales

When Jonesy walked out on a meeting after it was suggested that Star and Miss Jones do a show, Judy Ellis sunk in her claws and said: "Kiss his ass. We women in corporate America have to do that all the time. Making men feel like they’re smarter than they actually are (page 134). This is the same man who honored the late singer Aaliyah, who died in 2001, by playing a sound effect of a plane crash with a woman screaming. Star is no longer at HOT 97-FM. Miss Jones has moved on and is alive to tell every heart-wrenching and empowering moment.

Photos by  devoncass.com

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