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Jojo’s decade long fight to freedom lit a spark in me when I heard her struggles with the vicious music label, Blackground Records. So, to recap, when she was 12-years old, JoJo got signed to Blackground Records, which is run by Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson. She signed a seven album deal and her plan was to release an album every year. With little experience in the music industry, her mom, who later became her manager, and JoJo signed and a little girl’s dream was on its way to becoming true.

Then things took a turn for the worse. To sum it up in the easiest way possible, Blackground Records lost distribution with the connections with the people who help them put albums in stores. 

So for a decade, Jojo made albums and albums that would never be released because the label didn’t want to tell her they burned bridges they were never supposed to. They lied to her, told her the reason they weren’t putting out her music was because of her looks. From there Jojo turned to a desperate path, she started seeing a nutritionist who put her on a strict diet and injections to stop her appetite. She looked for validation and some type of light at the long end of the tunnel. After a while, she noticed that even though she is still battling with her inner demons there was more to the hostage than they were letting on. 

In the summer of 2013, JoJo filed a lawsuit against her label. In 2014, she was finally released from the contract and signed to Atlantic Records. And from there she got to re-record her old albums and put out new songs. She was free to be the star she deserves to be. 

I think she is one in a million. What other star would fight this case for years and years, lose hope, lose themselves, and still find a way to end up on top? Her voice and strength is nothing short and I only wish to see her succeed the way she should have been doing all these years.

She experienced the challenges of a woman and how we are often seen as product to the media or men’s eyes. I love how even when the odds were against her, she managed to keep up a good fight and never lost sight of her passions and goals. Her fire never dimmed and she reminds us every day what hard work and dedication truly looks like. 

A woman to admire, Joanna Noelle Levesque.

Paola is a Writing and English student at the University of Tampa. She loves books, movies, and all types of art. She spends her days under the sun or buried in a good book. Her anti-social self is still trying to get out in the world and meet new people so please, don't be afraid to reach out to her! Insta - @paolaaa.montero
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