Tennessee’s Justin Jones and Justin Pearson named to Harper’s Bazaar Icons list

Tennessee Democratic state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, who were briefly expelled from the state Legislature earlier this year after joining in protests against gun violence, were named to the Harper’s Bazaar Icons list for 2023 on Thursday.

The magazine announced its list of 14 people “who are helping to shift narratives, open doors, and reshape the culture,” adding the group “made their marks — and some of them might be making history.”

“I don’t look like the other elected officials in the building,” Jones told the magazine. “In fact, I was told that I should cut my hair and assimilate. But I know that we have to represent a new model of what legislators can look like.”

“I serve in a people-powered, people-first way, because that’s the only way I know how to serve,” Pearson said. “I never thought of myself as separate from being an activist. I’m an activist dash legislator. I take care of my community as passionately as I did before I ever had a title.”

Jones and Pearson, alongside state Rep. Gloria Johnson, interrupted Tennessee House proceedings in late March to protest for gun control after a mass shooting at a Nashville school.

Republicans succeeded in expelling Pearson and Jones, who are Black, from the body, while Johnson, who is white, was not expelled.

Since then, Jones, Pearson and Johnson have been dubbed the “Tennessee Three” as they garnered national attention.

Jones and Pearson were reelected earlier this month and have rejoined the state Legislature representing Nashville and Memphis, respectively.

Others who made the magazine’s icon list include rapper Doja Cat, supermodel Kendall Jenner, actor Paul Mescal and basketball player Angel Reese.

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