*Johnniqua Charles, the woman whose chant of “You about to lose your job” to a strip club security guard went viral, recently took to Instagram to mark the one year anniversary and express how her life has changed for the better.
“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 told her followers in a video. “And it might not mean much to anybody 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.”
Charles also expressed gratitude toward her supporters. “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,” she 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.”
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On June 3, 2020, Charles was 28-years-old, homeless, battling drug addiction and surviving as a sex worker when she was arrested by security guard Julius Locklear outside of the Diamonds Gentlemen’s Club in Dillon, South Carolina. She had been asked to leave the venue twice, but continued trying to get inside after closing, claiming she left her purse. While Locklear detained her for trespassing, Charles began singing, “You about to lose your job,” along with an accompanying dance. Locklear began filming, and Charles played to the camera, telling Locklear to “Get this dance” on film.
Locklear appears straight-faced in the video throughout Charles’ antics. Later, when posting the video online, he wrote: “Okay, I’M NOT POSTING THIS TO BE FUNNY TOWARDS THIS SUBJECT!!!! I’m posting it cause that rap was lit like I wish I could put a beat to it, lol. You can see me handling it professionally and trying to keep a straight face, but I couldn’t.
After the clip went viral, Charles’ “You about to lose your job” chant was, of course, remixed by about a million people, and eventually became a rallying cry during the 2020 protests against police brutality.
Meanwhile, as her words were becoming a part of pop culture history, Charles had lost contact with her family, who was caring for her 3-year-old son. But they saw the viral video and launched a concerted effort to find her. Charles’ sister Andrea starting a GoFundMe to try and get her off the streets.
“The only reason that the GoFundMe and those platforms were created were people were begging to donate to her. 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,” said Andrea.
Sadly, by the fall of 2020, things had soured between Charles and Andrea. Here’s her interview with Atlanta Black Star back in November: