A number of anthems from well-known artists have emerged as nationwide protests against police brutality continue, but perhaps one of the most influential is from a woman most people hadn't heard of before this month.
Johnniqua Charles, 27, said she tried to reenter a strip club in Dillon, South Carolina, in February after she realized she had left her purse inside, but was detained by Julius Locklear, a security guard for the
"I think that maybe he thought I was trying to get back inside the club to party a bit more but that simply wasn’t the case," Charles told NBC News. "We started getting into a verbal altercation because he wouldn’t let me get my purse," she said, noting that she then made a vulgar comment to the guard. "He thought I was testing his manhood, and that’s when the handcuffs were thrown on me and that’s how you got the song."
The song Charles is referring to is called "Lose Yo Job," which has become a catchy and popular track after a video of her singing it while detained in handcuffs gained traction on social media around June 3. In the video, Charles asks Locklear, "Why are you detaining me?" then raps, "You about to lose your job" while dancing.
Since the clip surfaced on social media, it has inspired several remixes, memes and dance videos. Among the most popular remixes is one from DJ Suede and DJ iMarkkeyz, the artist responsible for the "Coronavirus Remix," a chart-topping song inspired by a Cardi B video.
"Lose Yo Job" has also become a protest chant.
"It feels so overwhelming to me. It’s just heartwarming to know that my song is being used for something so powerful," Charles said. "It’s just amazing to me. Very humbling."
Charles believes the video resonated with so many people in part because they were inspired by "somebody standing up" amid "the protests and all this police brutality and all these police abusing their authority."
"I feel like they need to go through some kind of psychological training before being put in positions to be police officers," Charles said. "And not just anybody should be able to be a police officer."
Yet she notes that she doesn't have "any ill will" towards Locklear and suggested he "could be "an example for other police officers."
"I’m still here. I didn’t get shot or nothing or tased," Charles said. "He could be a perfect example of how you handle a situation like that. Of course I was upset with him in the moment, but he did handle that part rather nicely."
After the initial clip went viral, Charles' sister, Andrea, created an Instagram account for her and is helping her trademark "You About to Lose Your Job." The video, Charles said, is not only "helping the world," but has been the "breakthrough" she needed. Charles, who has a 3-year-old son, said that she was struggling with homelessness and addiction before the video went viral, and that she is planning to use the money people have donated to her via GoFundMe to rent an apartment and start her own business.
Charles isn't ruling out the possibility of creating more music in the future, either.
"I don’t wanna sit down and write something because that song is the way it is because I was just fooling around," Charles said. "If I’m in the kitchen or something and I just get in the moment and something pops up, the world will know."