Going viral can double-edged sword. It can be for negative reasons (for brands like H&M) or positive ones. Such is the case for 23-year-old Charlotte resident Shia Yearwood, who literally turned a bad situation into a business opportunity.
On Jan. 3, Shia was arrested and charged with violating a domestic protective order in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. When her mugshot was posted to the county’s records, it was then shared by the Twitter account @CharlotteMugs, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Despite the initial drama, Shia received a silver lining — publicity for her growing braiding business. “When I found the post on Twitter, I retweeted it and hashtagged #BraidsByShia,” she explains. “I was just simply showing people that I had nothing to be ashamed about. I thought I looked good and I thought my braids looked amazing — they were literally done two hours prior to the mugshot.”
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I keep getting asked to do interviews and tell my story. Lol now y’all know me. This I funny to me bc A Lame Had me arrested. Jumped and beat on. Snatched my kid. Turned our phones off and got missing took the car we shared and moved out an apt by myself. I had the roughest month of my life and this is how I started my new year. Now let me tell y’all how God works. I thought I should take my pic with my braids bc I knew the Charlotte mugshot page was gonna do me dirty lol. So I said fuck it. Ima retweet it and shout out my braids. Now I’m getting asked to do interviews. Give my story. Tell how I turned my negative to positive. THIS IS HOW. Walk in the truth. Stay true to who you are. You thought I was tripping off what you did to me. I knew you were trying to break me. I knew you were trying to hurt me and you wanted to see me in jail. Well guess what baby? Thank you 😘. Frfr bc of you and your lame assness. Deposits are rolling in. New clients. New reach of people. New support and most of all. I wasn’t broken. I stood up tall and proud and I held my head high bc I wasn’t ashamed of shit. I let my work speak for itself and I let my God work for me! We turning lemons to lemonade all year baby. #SecureTheBag2018 @hairbyshia #HairbyShia #BraidsByShia
Fortunately for her, positive responses started rolling in. Tweets like “They tried to blast you little do they know they gave you a platform to expand your clientele” and “the way you turned shade into a marketing opportunity is a great moment in Black a Twitter History” made their way online.
4,528 retweets and 8,966 likes later, #BraidsByShia gained some serious momentum. Initially, the response had Shia taken a bit by surprise. “When I first saw that my mugshot was getting retweeted so much I just thought my friends and clients were being funny. I thought they were just helping me promote like any other time, because my mugshot promoted my own [work].
“At first, I was a little embarrassed that it was getting attention because I didn’t want people to think I was taking being arrested as a joke. Instead, I saw it as a lesson and an opportunity to show off my skills,” she explains.