Johnniqua Charles went viral last year after she was captured on a video singing defiantly to a police officer “You about to lose your job.” The song was remixed and used during protests against police violence across the nation. To mark the one-year anniversary of her shining moment on Thursday, Charles went to Instagram and reflected on her journey in the past 12 months.
“Wow, it’s really been a year since ‘you about to lose your job’ went viral and to me, it’s hitting different because on the fifth I will actually be celebrating a year clean of cocaine and clear off of those streets thank God,” she said. “And it might not mean much to nobody else but it means everything to me because for one this is the longest that I’ve ever been clean and off of those streets for this long. And it’s just a blessing.”
The viral sensation expressed her gratitude for her fans and acknowledged how the video transformed her life.
“Everything that came for me because of ‘you about to lose your job’ and everything that is still to come I am just so thankful for,” Charles said. “And I am thankful for everybody that was in my corner and everybody that supported me through all of this and I am just grateful and I just want to thank everybody. Have a blessed day.”
In the video that changed her life, the 28-year-old woman from Dillon, South Carolina questions a security guard as she is being detained.
“Why are you detaining me?” she said before turning her frustration into an ad-libbed song.
The footage took off when Julius Locklear, the security guard seen in the video, posted the clip on Facebook, BuzzFeed reported.
“Okay IM NOT POSTING THIS TO BE FUNNY TOWARDS THIS SUBJECT!!!!” Locklear wrote in his post. “I’m posting it cause that rap was lit like I wish I could put a beat to it lol.”
Locklear says the incident happened at Diamonds Gentlemen’s Club in Dillon. According to the security guard, Charles was detained for trespassing after he asked her to leave the club twice. Charles was trying to get into the club after it closed because she accidentally left her purse inside, Locklear added.
“You can see me handling it professionally and trying to keep a straight face, but I couldn’t,” the guard said, adding that he didn’t lose his job.
Once protesters gathered around the country last year to demand an end to police brutality, Charles’ catchy tune would become the anthem of the movement. During an interview with BuzzFeed in 2020, Charles said she was homeless and dealing with a drug addiction while doing sex work to survive. The South Carolina resident wasn’t in contact with her family, who were taking care of her 3-year-old son.
However, the viral moment changed everything.
“I’d been on the streets, and they’d been looking for me,” Charles said. “And I guess they seen that this video could basically change my life, and they put out a whole search party to find me.”
Charles’ sister Andrea led the effort by setting up a GoFundMe to collect donations for the viral sensation and her son.
“The only reason that the GoFundMe and those platforms were created were people were begging to donate to her,” Andrea said. “Once I made her Instagram, people were flooding in, saying, ‘How can I bless her? She just blessed my day so much. She just made my day.’ So the only reason it was created was so people could bless her life.”
Since the video Charles has given birth to a baby girl named Dexire Antoniya William according to Atlanta Black Star.
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