If you’ve been paying attention, there’s no question that you’ve heard of Ernestine Johnson. If you’re a social media Queen (or King) like me, you first came across this young lady on Instagram or maybe even Youtube. It seemed like everywhere I looked, I saw her video. She even became the topic of discussion in some of my groupchats with my besites, everyone praising her for her honesty, for her undeniable skill, for her raw talent.
The no holds barred 28 year old took the internet by storm when she dropped a heavy hitting poem called “Red Bottoms.”
What inspired this piece?
“I have a background in retail. I actually worked for Neiman Marcus. And the things that I saw, you know, women would come in, and different men would taking them shopping. I mean, we all like nice things, but that really inspired me to write thins piece, because I wanted women, Black women in particular, to think about the value they place on these things, and what it does to their spirit.”
Like most good art, I was sure that this poem had struck a nerve with someone, somewhere, and Ernestine said that’s exactly what she wanted.
“If I did strike a nerve, that was the point. If you felt a certain way, that was the point. I wanted to strike a nerve. I wanted you to hear the poem, and say, ‘maybe I need to change some things up.’ There was a Sarah Baartman reference in the poem, I wanted you to Google Sarah Baartman and know the story. But overall, I haven’t had any bad feedback.”
She admits she doesn’t read all the comments. She said she WAS worried about how the people in the Louboutin corporate office would react though.
“I was a little worried that maybe the brand Christian Louboutin would have something to say, but actually Christian Louboutin himself gave me a pair of “red bottoms” and signed them for me. That was pretty awesome.”
How does she feel about the way Black women are portrayed in the media?
“If you would’ve asked me this question a couple of months ago, I would’ve said that Black women are being portrayed horribly in the media. I would’ve said it was all the media’s fault. But I had to really sit down and think about it. No one’s holding a gun to these women’s heads and having them sign up to do reality shows, and these videos that they put on Instagram. So really, my opinion on it is, if we really understood where we came from as women, we would have a lot more progression, moving forward as women. I’m not happy with how we’re being portrayed in the media, but I’m also not happy with the jobs we’re signing up for. If you want change, you have to be the change. I want to inspire women to do that.”
And just when we thought Ernestine was just a poet…she ISN’T. She’s also an experienced actress. Originally from Los Angelos, CA, Johnson says she got into acting at the age of 10. Inspired by a movie called “Mama Flora’s Family” starring Cicely Tyson, Johnson said that’s when her life changed.
“At that very moment, I told my mom that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be on TV and make people feel how I felt. My mom got me an agent. The first TV show I was ever in was a show called ‘Seventh Heaven’. I loved it. That’s when I knew what I wanted to do.”
Along her journey, Johnson has also had the pleasure of working with big time funny man Kevin Hart. She said she’s learned a lot from him.
“He’s a really great person. He’s unstoppable. Being on set with him, how he is on camera, is how he is off camera. He’s welcoming, he’s fun. It’s awesome watching him pick up every scene and just make it more fun and exciting. He raises the stakes. His comedic timing is amazing. Watching him on set, as an actress was priceless.”
Ernestine has worked with a number of high profile celebs, and one of those people just happens to be rapper David Banner.
“David Banner is so amazing. He reached out and told me he was a fan of a piece that I did, and I was like, ‘Well I’m a fan of yours!’ So I ended up on his song called ‘Evil Knieval’, and I actually got to perform the song with him on Revolt. It was actually his first time performing on TV in over 6 years. The song was so powerful, and it was a great collaboration. I love that he uses his platform to spread light.”
But that’s not it, y’all, Ms. Johnson BOXES too! Apparently, she’s been training with welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather’s uncle, Mr. Roger Mayweather.
“Floyd was actually one of my customers at Neiman’s. I ended up transferring to the Neiman’s in Atlanta, I had to quit once everything started picking up, but we still kept in contact. I have my own personal shopping company, and it’s still going. I started gaining a little weight, and I was complaining about it. Floyd suggested that I box. So I trained with Roger for a year, and he helped me get down 28 pounds. I always tell people my dream role is to play Laila Ali.”
Ernestine now lives in Atlanta, and is finding her way around quite nicely. She says that she just trusts in God, and believes great things are in store for her future.
“I’ve hit the ground running. I wake up every morning, and say ‘God let your will be done, and not mine.’ In the book of Proverbs, it says your gift will make room for you. As long as I’m living in my purpose, I could be living in Iceland. It wouldn’t matter.”
You know what Ernestine, something tells me you’re right. An incredible talent, with an incredible heart. Ernestine Johnson is clearly on her way to the top.