Premiere! Is R&B Ready For A Disabled Singer?
Diagnosed at birth with the crippling congenital affliction Spina Bifida, a curvature of the spine that causes major debilitating effects, 20-year-old singer/songwriter Yung Juko knows what it's like to defy odds.
Doctors told his mother he'd never walk, but that didn't stop him.
As he grew, he realized he had a voice and about a year ago he decided to record his first song after entertaining folks for years in his Lafayette, LA neighborhood.
Juko paid $25 online for a beat from a kid in neighboring Shreveport and recorded "Trust Nobody."
For months, a friend tried to convince now manager, Brandon Hebert, to listen until he finally relented.
Not only was he impressed, he wanted to manage Juko and make a video for the song. Everyone he knew said he was crazy.
"Why you wanna spend money on that lil cripple kid?" they all asked.
Now, six months after it's release, "Trust Nobody" has gone on to garner almost 2 million views, over 26,000 likes and over 3,000 comments.
Spurred on by that success, Yung Juko made a video for his next single, "Learn From The Streets" which has gone on to receive close to 300,000 views in just over two months.
The kid is on a roll. At first there was ridicule.
People tagged him as 'the fifth Ninja Turtle, N*ggatello', but Juko persisted and today he premiers his bravest video yet, "Pray For Me."
He's all up in this one, disability and all. No sly camera angles to disguise his affliction.
In fact, he's calling out his haters.
There's no shame in his game.
"I can feel the hate. I can see the hate. And the sad thing is, it's in familiar faces..." he sings from the steps of a beautiful local church.
Juko has an EP in the works, "Your Next Favorite Artist," expected early next year.
Is R&B ready for a disabled singer?
Yung Juko doesn't care. He plans to walk, sing, dance and laugh all the way to the bank.