A TikTok video of a formerly incarcerated single mother’s reaction at the exact moment she learned the results of her bar exam is going viral online.

On April 25, Afrika Owes shared the exact moment she learned she passed the New York bar exam on her first attempt. The short clip with the words “POV: You’re a formerly incarcerated mom who passed the bar exam on the first try” now has nearly 3 million views and counting. The video begins with the anxious 27-year-old on the computer as she reads the outcome of her exam. Owens’ brother, who was standing behind her, and best friend, who was on speaker phone, were there for support.

“I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed!” she exclaimed whilst jumping out of her chair before she started crying tears of joy. “I knew I could do it.”

Before viewing her results, she was holding a picture of her 4-year-old son, as well as the funeral programs for her late mother and grandmother, for positive vibes.

“Thank you to my angels, my momma, my grandma. Thank you for my son, my brother, my family and my tribe. I’m beyond happy to join the ranks of the 2% of Black women Attorneys in the U.S.,” she wrote.


Thank you to my angels, my momma, my grandma. Thank you for my son, my brother, my family and my tribe. I’m beyond happy to join the ranks of the 2% of Black women Attorneys in the U.S. #singlemom #attorney #blackattorney #lawyer

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This tear-jerking instance was a monumental moment in Owes’ life because she had the odds stacked against her a decade ago, according to Good Morning America. At 17 years old, she was arrested in Harlem as part of a gang conspiracy case in 2011. She was facing 25 years to life and pleaded guilty to her charges. With the help of her family, community members and local organizations, she was able to get legal representation that helped her through a difficult process.

“It was very common in Harlem at the time to do these kind of mass roundups of teenagers throughout the neighborhood. I had a very good support system,” she told GMA in an exclusive interview. “I was represented by Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, Abyssinian Baptist Church. They were excellent advocates. They assisted in my case and making sure I was able to make bail and come home.”

Due to their service, the New Yorker was only sentenced to six months on Rikers Island and a few years of probation after she was released. Her time at the jail impacted her in more ways than one but she’s doing everything in her power to combat the stereotypes made about former inmates and single mothers as she continues to grow as a lawyer.

“It was about a little over 10 years ago now but very much still affected by the impacts of incarceration,” she told GMA. “It’s been very difficult, but I’ve worked so hard to remove the stigma and distance myself from negative impacts.”

She continued, “I mean, for me, of course, this means I can be an attorney. I can continue to help people, I continue to mentor, to share my story and let people know that, you know, it doesn’t matter where you come from. It matters where you’re going and how you get here today.”

It was a dream of hers to become a lawyer since she was a young girl, so passing the bar exam meant she accomplished a goal of a lifetime, which she feels is a win for all.

“It’s not just a win for me, but it’s a win for all of us. It’s a win for Black women attorneys, who only make up less than 2% of the profession, for incarcerated women, who less than 1% obtain graduate degrees, for single mothers,” she said. “I think it’s really important for people to the image of a Black woman passing the bar with all of everything that I carried but also know that I’m not carrying it alone.”