Who collaborates with Beyoncé, Janet Jackson and BLACKPINK, has immaculate dance technique, flawless fashion serves and pioneering androgynous vibes in heels? Realize and recognize there can only be one correct answer: Jonté.
The seeds for Jonté’s amazing career trajectory were planted with dance training at the Oregon Ballet Theatre and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. His post-graduation audition hustle began almost immediately and his backup dancer era was brief but historic as it includes performing with Janet Jackson in 2004 for her iconic Super Bowl XXXVIII performance. The only thing better than working with one legendary diva is working with two, and so Jonté soon after began a creative partnership with the woman who’s always most likely to break the internet, Beyoncé. From Queen B’s “Freakum Dress”, “Suga Mama” and “Get Me Bodied” B-Day album videos, the development of her Sasha Fierce persona, and her ’08 Grammy Awards performance with Tina Turner — whew! — to the Beyoncé Experience World Tour and the “Find Your Way Back” Black Is King project, Jonté’s vision and choreography has been an indelible part of Beyoncé’s pop culture iconica (a word I just made up, but it works) for the last 16 years.
His work with B. resulted in also choreographing and dancing for projects with M.I.A, FKA Twigs, Tamar Braxton and Cassie before eventually grabbing the attention of the K-Pop world. Crafting movement for instantly recognizable smashes like “Whistle”, “DDU-DU-DDU-DU” and “As If It’s Your Last” showed BLACKPINK may be in your area, but Jonté was definitely in his global girl group choreo bag! He also counts Wonder Girls, Miss A, 2PM, T-ara and agency CEO/artist J.Y. Park as top tier clients who needed that elusive sizzle to make their snap and crackle (K-) pop.
Jonté’s in-demand status isn’t relegated to just superstar artists given the campaign and live events choreography he’s also done for Kiehl’s, KAIMIN, Kiok, NIKOPANDA and the Brooklyn Nets.
With Jonté’s dancer/choreographer credentials firmly on lock, a next level career shift resulted in an ongoing successful run in the Japanese entertainment industry. Nothing but major moves to be found and they include a rare partnership with Sanrio’s Hello Kitty and messaging app giant LINE, choreographing videos for J-Pop royalty Namie Amuro and DOUBLE, performing at Fuji Rock ’08, omnipresent ad campaign appearances for Ice Breakers and Tokyo Mode Gakuen, and weekly slayage on the long-running NHK children's program Tensai TV-kun.
Not content to simply work with recording artists, Jonté became one in 2008 serving up bangers, bops and beat visuals such as “Bitch You Betta”, “Ya! Who?” and “Extinguish” to satisfy anyone craving legit R&B, funk, or anthemic house music. The success of his early singles releases caught the attention of Japanese record label For Life Music Entertainment who signed him to a deal that resulted in his DVD/EP Hello Jonté & Dance Up projects in 2011. His underground club scene credentials are also in check — just ask legendary club promoter Susan Bartsch & Kenny Kenny whose decade plus long relationship with Jonté includes mainstage performer invites to Vienna’s Life Ball charity fundraiser in 2009 and 2014.
As an openly and fiercely gay man, Jonté is?/should? be credited with advancing and mainstreaming the Heels Movement, one click clack and signature tilt at a time, for all the boys and anyone falling elsewhere on the gender spectrum who love to tear the dancefloor up in a pair of pumps. “I’m an androgynous male.” he once said in an interview and he followed that up with “That’s it. I look good in women’s clothes.” — a fact, not a flex, co-signed by his appearances in Harper’s Bazaar, NYLON, V-MAGAZINE and WWD, ad campaigns with Telfar, Swedish brand Acne Studios and Gypsy Sports NY, mic rocking at Seoul Fashion Week and the undeniable love shown to him from industry titans Christian Louboutin, renegade luxury apparel duo The Blonds and Patricia Field.
Artist, dancer, choreographer, fashion muse, trailblazer, visionary and the one Beyoncé famously said she’d be if she were a boy — Jonté. The credits and accomplishments are impressive, but he’s just getting started. To paraphrase the opening lines of his hit “Ya Rude”, “B*tch don’t come for me/Yes I did work with B/Now get into my… Chapter 3.” Y’all ready?
Photography: Tarik Carroll
Styling : Megumi Kaneko
Makeup : Raisa Flowers