WKI Magazine Entertainment Article #34
Jeff Ace Walker
WKI Magazine Interview with
Jeff 'Ace' Walker
Soul Train Dancer / The 'Rose' Man
WKI MAGAZINE: Were you a Soul Train dancer?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: Yes!
WKI MAGAZINE: When did you start dancing on Soul Train?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: 1988
WKI MAGAZINE: How long were you on the show?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: 1988-91 and 2001 when Shaemar Moore was host.
WKI MAGAZINE:What style of clothing did you wear?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER:Baggie pants, cumber bun, white tux shirt, black bow tie and black patten leather shoes with wing tips.
WKI MAGAZINE: Any other styles?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: Yes, I was a Morris Day fan and started wearing style like suits and Miami Vice summer fits.
WKI MAGAZINE: How did you get on Soul Train?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: As the Rose Man from San Jose and the Bay, I expanded my business to Hollywood night clubs and concert scenes, while up and down Sunset selling roses from shop to shop, I landed on the corner of Sunset and Gower and looked down the street and saw a crowd of people in the center of the block where Paramount Pictures side entrance was. When I got there I asked what was going on in there. They told me they were waiting to get picked to go in and be a Soul Train dancer, so I decided to try my luck. I stood there with roses and finally got picked by Eric the coordinator to be a dancer.
WKI MAGAZINE: Did you have to audition to be a dancer?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: No, I guess I was picked at face value.I don't know why, because normal policy is to go around to different clubs and find dancers. I just got lucky.
WKI MAGAZINE: Where did you start dancing at?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: I first started dancing on the main floor, then I was placed on the two side platforms and then the high rise.
WKI MAGAZINE: Did you come down the Soul Train line?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: Yes, I did.
WKI MAGAZINE:Did you have a signature move that we may recall from watching the show?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: Yes, one of my signature moves was coming down the line locking and dancing, then I did a three sixty jump in the air and a split and pulling myself up by the collar then hitting a back hand spring. That was one of many.
WKI MAGAZINE: What are your most memorable moments from being on the show?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER:a. One is when a female and I were picked to do the scrabble board and Don doing the interview. I was asked my name and said, "Jeff Ace Walker" now the viewers could associate with me being a dancer.
b. The other moment was meeting NWA Easy E and his crew in the late 80's.
c. Last but not least, meeting Shemar Moore in 2001, when he was the temporary host for Don Cornilius. He is one of the nicest cats in the industry.
This story by Jeff Ace Walker the rose man interview is a belated tribute to 9/11 troops who guarded the world trade center after the attack and many lives that were lost as well as to the family and survivors.It is also dedicated to many of you all across the country who have bought real roses and roses that light up that help spread love by giving to others.
WKI MAGAZINE: Hello Jeff or do you prefer to be called Ace?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: Ace is cool because that is the name most people know me as.
WKI MAGAZINE: Where are you from?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: I was born in East Palo Alto, but moved and was raised in San Jose CA.
WKI MAGAZINE: When did you first start selling roses?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: It was the beginning of the summer of 1984.
WKI MAGAZINE: How did it happen?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: Hell I was jobless and I needed some money and I was downtown San Jose in between first and second street on Santa Clara street and I was washing a store window for $5 at Firratos deli who sold sandwiches, while I was washing window I seen these real roses of various colors red, pink, yellow, white and lavender etc., all wrapped in clear cellophane being sold at $ 0.50 each.
WKI MAGAZINE: Then what happened?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: well, I had an idea, so took my $5.00 dollars and bought 10 rose's at 50 cent each. I took those rose’s and started selling them to people on the street. Then I went store to store selling them. By the time I got around the corner on 2nd St, I had sold out in less than an hour, and that's how it all began. I sold everywhere where people were at. I hit the street running with roses, selling them to everyone in sight. I hit King & Story Road, the Boulevard where people would cruise showing off their low riders. The streets were full of men and women who would buy me out. Night clubs, concerts, special events, fairs, business offices, parks, car shows, you name it I was there.
WKI MAGAZINE: How did you manage to start selling roses in the clubs?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: It was because a man named Frank Ruiz asked me if I wanted to be a model at a very popular night club. So I took a vase full of rose's to the show and during my modeling routine I handed some roses to the ladies and the crowd went crazy. After the show I took the vase full of roses and started selling them to the people in the club and sold them out. I then asked the management if I could come back to sell roses in the club on the weekend and they said yes. That’s how I began selling them in the night clubs.
WKI MAGAZINE: Can you name some of the clubs you sold in?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: Studio 47- San Jose, Sweet Jimmie’s - Oakland, City Night and Sound Factory - San Francisco, Club Paradise - Hollywood and Nippers - Beverly Hills.
WKI MAGAZINE: Did you give roses to any celebs?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: Yes, over a hundred. Sheila E, Salt N Pepper Crew, Cover Girls, Connie, Sweet Sensations. As you may have noticed in the picture, Wesley Snipes is holding a light up rose that he bought from me in 1988 at a club.
WKI MAGAZINE: Did you ever sell roses outside of Cali, if so when?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: Yes, all across the country.
WKI MAGAZINE: Can you share with the readers a few of the places that you have traveled too to sell roses?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: 1988 Tijuana, 2001 - 2005 I hit Hawaii, the Pro Bowls, night clubs etc. Miami South Beach, spring breaks, world music fest, Texas and New York City.
WKI MAGAZINE: When did you go to New York? I love the place?
JEFF 'ACE' WALKER: I arrived in New York just after 9/11 from the train ride from California. In fact I was riding a train in Manhattan selling light up roses to the passengers, then the train was stopped, because we couldn’t go any farther. We had no idea what was going on. The police presence had escorted us off the train telling us why we couldn't go any further and that's when I found out that there was an attack at the World Trade Center. As we exited off the train, I headed up the stairs with a vase full of light up roses following other people who were headed toward the crime scene. I saw the streets packed with people and many were crying and walking in my direction coming from the crime scene. There was smoke and debri everywhere. I saw a military presence guarding the area. While I was walking near the store front, there were pictures of missing persons. My heart began to ache. As I got nearer the crime scene, from a distance I could see where the plane had hit the World Trade Center. All of a sudden, people started asking me if I was selling roses. Some started buying my light up roses that will never die and placing them at the store front. I started to do the same. When I started to leave the area I decided to give some light up roses to the military presence in different sections of the crime scene area. I then took a pause, bowed my head, prayed and then I left the scene. Till this day that incident has never ever escaped my mind. For the love that I saw and the relief that some had received when buying a rose from me that they would be able to show their love to the missing person they will never be able to see again. For that rose will never die nor will the memory. Always Jeff “Ace” Walker the Rose Man.