There’s nothing better than seeing celebrities make their dreams come true. And while some stars have received help on their journey to success via family connections, it’s even more special to see someone truly start from the bottom and build the career they dream of.
Jhonni (real name: Jzapal Jackson) has been in and out of the headlines over the years; she is actually a super-talented woman. And since some of her personal struggles and drama have taken a toll on her career, things were a bit touch-and-go for a while. That said, Jhonni is now coming into her own as an emerging artist and fans are ready to learn more about her.
Jhonni was a victim of sex trafficking at the age of 15.
It’s not news that Jhonni has been through some serious issues throughout her life. While everyone has a story, Jhonni’s childhood was filled with heartbreaking moments. And Jhonni dealing with being a victim of sex trafficking is one of them.
In an interview with Bossip, the star explained that being a victim of sex trafficking has caused her to toughen up and have a hard shell.
“I was a child. I got snatched at 15, 16, and I got out of it at 17, she tells the site. “I was molested at 14. I was on a lot of different drugs and stuff and I’m recovering — it’s about to be eight years. I was dealing with being human trafficked."
She continued, "All of those things are why my skin is so tough. Just focusing on what happens, putting that pain and those memories into music, it will touch people in the world."
She also explained that she traveled to Philadelphia without her father’s knowledge of the situation.
“I was taking a bus to Philly, and I thought it was for a photo shoot to make some money,” she tells The Atlanta Voice. “I was like a bad kid. I really wasn’t too close to my dad, so I was just like a rebel. So I got myself into something, and ended up being into prostitution at 15 years old until 17 years old until I was legal enough to switch and just dance.”
Her past experiences are the main reason she goes so hard with pursuing her career and trying to influence other young women who may have suffered the same fate.
Jhonni knows how to play not one but five instruments.
There’s no denying that making it in the music industry is no easy feat. And while some artists are only known for being able to sing or rap, Jhonni takes things to the next level.
Jhonni was introduced to music at a young age by her mother and she used it to her advantage. Her mother bought her a keyboard, and she used it to teach herself how to play the piano.
And once she mastered the piano, she moved on to other instruments. She taught herself how to play the clarinet, violin, drums, and acoustic and bass guitars.
If you’ve tuned into Growing up Hip Hop: Atlanta, you may have seen Jhonni showing off her skills. There are also various videos of the star on YouTube playing the piano and other instruments.
‘Growing up Hip-Hop: Atlanta’ is not the first reality television show Jhonni's been on.
While most people are getting to know Jhonni via Growing up Hip Hop: Atlanta, she’s actually been featured on reality television before. In fact, she was a supporting cast member on Season 5 of Love & Hip Hop New York.
While her time on the show was filled with a lot of drama, her main focus was shifting her career from urban model to recording artist. She connected with Rich Dollaz — a former beau — to assist her in building her music career.
However, seeing that things didn’t work out professionally between the two, she was able to later get Deb Antney to become her manager. And since Deb Antney is a cast member on Growing up Hip Hop: Atlanta, Jhonni naturally became an easy choice for producers to cast.
And while her first season on the show was also filled with drama, this time around she has rebranded herself and is ready to put her career first.
“I’m focused on my music, I have a new team," she tells Bossip. “I’m currently in LA working with Macy Gray for the third day. We’re working on some records for my EP.”
She is currently promoting her two hit singles — “Bad Woman” and “Elephant Man” — from the EP 5:12.
Growing up Hip Hop: Atlanta airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on WETV.