At first, he longed to be a gangster. No wonder. Jones grew up on the South Side of Chicago, during the Great Depression. What he saw was chaos. His community was run by gangs. His father, a carpenter on the payroll of mobsters who ran the ghetto. His mother, a schizophrenic, was dragged away in a strait jacket when Jones and his little brother, Lloyd, were just young kids. Yet somehow he found the grace to rise above the insanity and became a legend. A Grammy, Emmy and Oscar winner, Jones is a music producer, composer, arranger, musician and film producer. A household name.
How did he do it? You owe it to yourself to watch this doc, directed by Jones' daughter, Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks. Jones shares a lifetime of wisdom and his degree from the University of HK (Hard Knocks).
Kids don't choose to whom they are born. Where or when. Too often we are quick to write off those who squirm under the foot of oppression that is racism, poverty and the trauma of crime, dysfunction, abuse and addiction.
For Jones, the example of his hardworking father inspires him to this day. Quincy Delight Jones, Sr. taught him how to toil, tirelessly. His father's mother was a former slave and she helped her son raise the boys. It was while breaking into the armory that young Quincy discovered his passion for music, as he tickled the keys on a piano there. His suffering mother once told him to write his music for God's glory.
Jones' story, imperfect like the rest of ours, is, however, a masterpiece in human frailty and heavenly intervention, including more than one near-death experience. In the film, he ponders the meaning of his life, treasuring a Christmas celebration in the context of his mortality.
Endless reports from around the world, featuring at-risk youth begging on streets to survive, living in cardboard boxes -- or those just around the corner dodging bullets to get to school -- build calluses on our ears and eyes. But beneath that mayhem are the souls of God's children waiting to fulfill his divine plans. "Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart's desire." (Psalm 37:4)