Tyrone Obaseki posted a video using cue cards to tell his life story last Friday. He thought it would get a few clicks, but it’s gotten more than six million in a week. These cards tell his story of growing up in foster care. Obaseki says he’s also hoping to take his story to the big screen.
“I spent 18 years in the foster care system where I felt like a slave,” he said. “There was sexual abuse. There was mental abuse. There was emotional abuse. There were a lot of chemical restraints. A lot of physical restraints where I was actually body slammed in group homes.”
His purpose with the viral video? To help someone believe they can beat the odds like he did.
Obaseki’s journey took him from foster care in Houston and Harris County, to college, and to grad school at Prairie View A&M. Most recently, he was licensed as a professional counselor in March.
Daphne Johnson, Obaseki’s former foster mom, says he changed her life.
“They said he was retarded, mentally ill, emotionally disturbed. But he had a borderline genius IQ,” Johnson said.
“The psychiatrist told me ‘Mrs. Johnson, he’s crazy and he’ll always be.’ I told him, no he’s not crazy. He’s the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and I taught him that,” she said.
Obaseki’s has held on to the faith he was taught living with the Johnson’s.
“The end goal is a movie, a book editor, and full time employment because right now I’m homeless. I just ate at Loaves and Fishes for some lunch,” he said.
And while that works itself out, he says his now viral video has shown him that what he went through was for this very moment.
“I did this video and now I can see six million people are inspired,” Obaseki said. “OK now that shows that’s why I went through all this turmoil.”
He recently completed his memoir titled “18 Years a Slave: Ward of the State.