Thanks to a viral video taken doing a run-in with a security guard, 27-year-old Johnniqua Charles went from living on the streets, estranged from her family, and dealing with an addiction—to rebuilding her life.
Maybe you know her from the recent viral video dubbed “Lose Yo Job,” wherein Charles turns her frustration with the security guard who is actively detaining her into a rap.
“Why are you detaining me? You about to lose yo job,” Charles says in the video. Then she is moved to sing and dance, “You about to lose yo job. You about to lose yo job. Get this dance! You about to lose yo job ‘cause you are detaining me for nothing.”
Now the video is everywhere, from signs at protests to popular DJ remixes shared on social media.
Charles’ song has become an anthem against police brutality amid the Black Lives Matter movement while inspiring laughter and levity during a traumatic time.
Buzzfeed News reports that the Dillon, South Carolina native found out the video had gone viral last week after a former classmate shared it with her on Facebook. But it wasn’t until her sister reached out that Charles realized just how many people had seen the video.
Charles hadn’t seen or communicated with her family since last November.
“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 was reunited with her family, and her 3-year-old son Juju who’d been in their care, on Saturday. She now lives with them as she tries to get back on her feet.
Charles’ sister realized that her sudden rise to internet fame could open doors for her and potentially turn her life around.
“At first I didn’t think much of [the video], but then I got on Instagram and I saw even more people saying, ‘Who is this woman?’” said Andrea. “So I was like, OK, this is an opportunity for my sister to be known. If the world wants to know who she is, why not let the world know who she is?”
Andrea opened an Instagram account, began selling t-shirts, and set up a GoFundMe, all to benefit her sister.
“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.”
The funds will support Charles and her son, Andrea said, “and also to better herself with whatever resources she needs to keep her on the right track, just to keep her here.”
Both sisters are grateful the video brought their family back together. Charles told Buzzfeed News that she’s now focused on getting healthy and making making up for lost time with her family and son.
“Other people keep telling me I helped them so much, but they don’t understand — nobody understands — how much this video going viral like this is helping me, because it’s giving me the breakthrough I so badly needed for so long,” she said.