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Life Lessons to Learn from the #Zola Story (Seriously)

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Tuesday morning, Black Twitter was delighted to an epic tale of ratchet, hustle and survival from user @_zolarmoon. Read the entire story via Storify link below.

In 150 tweets, this conductor of “hoeism” not only captured a seemingly realistic account of sex trafficking, but she also captured the hearts of literary feigns of all walks of life. You can catch her timeline full of retweets from old, young, white, black, nobodies and celeb users like Scream Queens actress Keke Palmer who has jokingly assumed the leading role of “Zola.”

Even Oscar nominated film director, writer and producer Ava Duvernay offered words of encouragement to the tweeter, which reminded us that getting your art out by any means is always a win.

This eye-catching display of creativity and ingenuity has taught me 7 lessons that I’ll be sure to apply to my life both as a creative and a woman. Let’s go!

  1. Use what you got to get what you want
    Ok, I can’t take full credit for this one. Since the story of #Zola is about strippers who learn the hard way that in the sex game you sometimes pay with your life, I was reminded of one of my favorite movies The Player’s Club. (Don’t judge me.) OG ho Ronnie schools the young tender Diamond on how to “make it” by quoting this line to her. While, Ronnie was talking about Diamond’s body, Diamond tucked away that nugget of wisdom as she pursued her bachelors degree at a HBCU in Atlanta. The #Zola author appears to actually be a Hooters Girl, as she claims to be in the story according to an old Instagram photo so we know she knows she’s a hottie. But she also executed a great idea in an effortless manner using a platform that millions of users log in to everyday but fail to cast an impactful reach in the way that her intellectual property has with this work. Her smartphone (because I’m pretty sure she didn’t type this on a computer. The minor typos look lien the work of the diabolical autocorrect) presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the young wordsmith to yell “Fuck your publishing deals, we’re getting out our dreams loud and in color”
  2. Build it and if it's good the people will come
    Now, I don’t know how many Twitter followers she had before this piece, nor do I know whether or not this is something she does regularly. But what I do know is she got a shit ton of attention yesterday as she rode the infamous Trending list of Twitter’s discovery function all day. That’s no easy feat considering yesterday was the MLB World Series, GOP Debate and Empire didn’t come on. Despite all these other distractions, enough people were talking about #Zola that her work was prominently listed for all of Twitter to see. No paid advertising campaigns, begging for retweets by way of spamming influencers or any other more common place digital marketing strategy necessary. Simply guerrilla style storytelling that was captivating enough to create its own buzz. I wonder if she expected her “rant” to garner so much attention 🤔
  3. You can be in something, but not of it
    In the tale (or in real life) Zola agreed to accompany Jess to Florida to make some quick money stripping. Once she got there she saw shit going south quickly so she found her role and played it well. Despite the fast money all around her, she stuck to her guns and refused to trick with her new friend. When the two left Hooters they were on the same level, but once they got off that stage Zola had positioned herself as the shot caller and Z respected her as such. The lesson here is simple: you teach people how to treat you.
  4. Watch the company you keep
    This one should be obvious. Zola didn’t know Jess at all. While she handeled herself well all things considered, she clearly put her life in danger. Furthermore, that damn boyfriend and his scary ass almost got them all killed, because he clearly had nothing to live for himself. Jarrett was completely “lost in the sauce” and hasn’t yet mastered the art of staying low. He told the guy at the motel way too much info and got them all in trouble by the end of the story. The people in your life should compliment you and build you up in some way– like the way Zola helped Jess get her coin up using that “things for sale” app that I didn’t know existed. (Yes, Backpage is real)
  5. Independence is Freedom
    Honey, when Zola saw that raggedy ass motel she was so quick to jump ship. Mainly, because she wasn’t desperate due to the fact that she had her own coin. Again, we see her make clear her position, and demand the level respect she required. How many times have you tolerated something that you really weren’t all that into simply because you felt that you had to? Zola doesn’t have to do anything, and showing this team of creeps that she can be just as crazy and violent only drives this point home. This entire trip, the mess that it turned out to be, was all by choice. (Well at least to some degree. Once shit hit with the fan with the outcalls she was pretty much trapped with Jarrett’s unstable ass. But still…) She was in a much better position than Jess who was completely dependent on Z. Which further makes me question the role of Jarrett. This guy was Z’s emotional pacifier for Jess, and nothing more.
  6. Know when to STFU
    As assertive as Zola was, she also knew exactly what questions to ask and when she just needed to listen and play her part. Z, Jess and Jarrett gave her all the details and clues she needed to figure out how to navigate this tricky situation. Clearly she lives by the motto: “Stack. Pray. Stay out the way,” as a real one should.
  7. Protect your magic
    Once @_zolarmoon‘s story gained popularity and she saw that she had something, she deleted all the tweets of the story. Technically, once something hits the innerwebs there’s no turning back. Nothing is private. Nothing ever deletes. But I still salute her effort to keep that story for a shot at a full-length book or series. I have no idea why she really deleted the tweets, but she seems like a smart girl who understands that there’s magic in her thumbs and will use that power for profit. We’ll have to wait and see.

Read the entire story here

Summary
Life Lessons to Learn from the #Zola Story: Know your role. Know your worth
Article Name
Life Lessons to Learn from the #Zola Story: Know your role. Know your worth
Description
When a hood tale of 150 tweets went viral on Twitter this week, Azia King (@_zolarmoon), taught several life lessons all creatives should apply today for success.
Author