Many people might remember the unforgettable “Lose Yo’ Job” video that went viral in February. It shows Dillon, South Carolina, native Johnniqua Charles asserting her rights to security guards outside of Diamonds Gentleman’s Club following a misunderstanding.
“Being agitated with not knowing why I was being detained and knowing my rights is where that whole scenario came from,” said Johnniqua Charles.
While dancing with her hands cuffed behind her back, Charles sang, “You about to lose yo’ job, ’cause you are detaining me for nothing!” Little did Charles know that she’d be dancing her way to becoming an internet sensation.
The video has since been shared widely across the web, remixed into several different songs and even used as a protest anthem. Charles spoke with Atlanta Black Star about what happened that night and how the viral video has changed her life.
She shared that she’s had many blessings since the “Lose Yo’ Job” video took over the web, but before it happened she had battled drug addiction.
“I was in and out of the streets begging since I was probably 19,” Charles revealed, adding that the viral video couldn’t have come at a better time in her life. “I was at my wit’s end, I was at the bottom, the lowest, the deepest that you could be,” she said.
Charles said the aftermath of her video going viral saved her life by getting her out of the streets. “It placed people in my life that I probably turned away because of the habit that I had,” she said.
Looking back on that fateful night, she recalls forgetting her purse behind the DJ’s booth at Diamonds Gentleman’s Club. When she attempted to go back inside, security guards stopped her from entering the building.
“He wasn’t listening to me when I was trying to tell him, ‘I’m just trying to get my damn purse,’ like, ‘I just want to get my purse, it has my social security number, it has my license, it has my cash, so just let me get it,’ ” Charles said.
“At first I just asked him, ‘so why are you detaining me?’ and he acted like he didn’t hear me, so I just raised my voice a little bit and I started singing,” she said. “In light of every situation, I’m going to make a joke out of it.”
Charles said a police officer later came to the scene and laughed off the incident. She wasn’t arrested. The clip went viral after the security guard who detained her, Julius Locklear, shared it on Facebook.
She added that she doesn’t even know if the nightclub still exists and hasn’t spoken to the security guard. “How many of you have ever been arrested before?” Charles asked. “Have you ever gone back and been friends with the cop that tried to arrest you or arrested you?”
SInce going viral, Charles initially gained a lot of followers on social media, and a GoFundMe page started by her sister raised over $50,000. When unrest erupted over racial injustices, many used the “Lose Yo’ Job” chant to fuel their protests.
“I think the first time that I’d ever seen my song played at a big protest, of course I dropped a tear because this was amazing,” Charles said. While the video changed her life for the better, Charles said she also hit a rough patch after going viral.
She told Atlanta Black Star that her sister had served as her manager, but their relationship has since gone sour. The falling out led to Charles’s sister locking her out of her original Instagram account, which had over 55,000 followers, leading to a loss of new opportunities, she said.
“I have been in control of nothing that’s been going on with ‘Lose Yo’ Job’ over the last past three or four, maybe five months, that’s why the world has seen nothing,” Charles said. “A lot could’ve popped off with ‘Lose Yo’ Job’ when it came to this election, so much stuff, but she’s made it so hard for me.”
Charles has since started a new Instagram account, @loseyojobgirl, in hopes of regaining her original fans. “Even though, yes, some negative has happened in the situation, I think overall, I got nothing but positive from it, and I think as long as I stay positive that positive will continue to come to me,” she shared.
She shared that she’s looking toward the future, which includes getting married and expanding her family. The mother of one, who’s raising her 4-year-old son, is expecting to welcome a new baby with her fiancé in April.