Lessons from Zola’s Story: The Great Saga of Trapping and Mayhem

By now, you’ve probably heard about the epic tale told by a woman named Zola, about a trip to Florida involving Jess, Z, and Jarrett. If you have not heard of this story, you have not been on the internet for the last 36 hours, and you were probably being productive with your life. Kudos. The rest of us, meanwhile, have been hemmed up as we’ve been riveted by the tales of trapping gone wrong, told by Zola on Twitter. HERE IS THE STORY. READ IT.


I have spent the last day hollering at this story. Zola’s story gave me drama, suspense, comedy and thriller. It was like a ratchet Lifetime Movie and it is worthy of big screen. I’m honestly waiting for someone to run Zola a book deal so I can give her my money because she is a gifted storyteller.

One thing I really appreciated about the story, are the lessons Zola passed on to us. There were so many things to take away to apply to your own life. You might not realize that you could extract teachable moments from tales of 2 strippers taking an ill-forsaken trip to Florida, America’s penis. But you just gotta open your eyes and look all around you. There’s inspiration everywhere.

For example, I never knew “Vibing over our hoeism” is a perfectly acceptable pasttime. Does that mean you create a hoeism playlist and jam together in bonding of shared love of the traplife? Because if so, that sounds great and should be an Apple Music commercial. Or a Spotify playlist we can all subscribe to.

yes gawd gif

I also didn’t know that there is such a thing as a trap phone. Is it a Blackberry? Because that’s what I picture. I know of burner phones, but trap phones? So niche. So focused. So useful!

The most valuable lesson here, though, is when Zola told Jess off for only getting $100 for turning a trick. Her retort of “Pussy is worth thousands” is a lesson in knowing your worth. The moment she valued Jess’s vagina at thousands, the moment she commanded that. You gotta value yourself higher, everyone. Zola’s trying to put you on game here. Do not underbid yourself or undervalue your Love Pocket.

But there is also the power of taking initiative. When Zola realized that Jess’ pimp was wack, she took matters into her own hands. She is resourceful and she is a go-getter. She would make an amazing employee. Nay, she needs to run her own business. She got so many upper management qualities, which is why she got promoted to lookout real quick by Z. Talk about advancing rapidly. Zola pimped Jess better than her actual pimp. That shows us that WOMEN ARE BETTER AT EVERYTHING. Girl power, really.

You Go Girl gif

Also, when in Florida, you gotta go down to a pool. Because why else are you there, otherwise? Keep your priorities in front of you always.

Finally, white dudes named Jarrett are crazy but misunderstood. Yes, he punched himself multiple times when he was upset but turns out he’s bipolar. Also, he has amazing luck. I won’t lie and say I didn’t howl at the fact that his ass jumped off the balcony and got his pants stuck on it. I pictured a cartoon as I yelped.

Z’s scolding of Jarrett with “FAMILIES LIVE HERE, BRO” had me cackling like a hyena. You do not do reckless shit amongst family zones. You just do not. And it doesn’t matter how much of a villain you are. You gotta have a code. That was Z’s.

Oh Zola, thank you for teaching me the logistics of trapping, the price of Love Pocket selling, and how to trust my instincts. Also, for telling a better story than “The Coldest Winter Ever.” This was like “The Wire” meets “Coldest Winter Ever” meets “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” Writing ass Zola.

Writing Stimpy gif

Seriously. This was a well-done piece of literature. Definitive beginning, ramped up with a climax (not from Jess), conflict, escalation, plot twists and a wrapped up ending where we find out what happened to the characters. The shit had an epilogue, y’all. It even gave us characters we hated first but came to care about (like Jarrett). Zola needs to write stories for a living because she is more talented than she realizes.

Anywho, the internet has been blessed with this story. Yes, if it’s true, it’s terrible implications but I will behave like this is a work of fiction for me to enjoy, dambit.

The moral of all of this: don’t go to Florida. The trap life is not glamorous. Don’t take hoe trips with someone you just met at Hooters.

P.S. I wonder who will play each of the characters in the movie. My boy LV said: “Jessie Pinkman gotta play Jarrett.. KeKe Palmer already said she down to play Zola. Get Adebisi from Oz as Z. I see Bokeem Woodbine killing it as dude with the dreads. Jess gotta be Taryn Manning.”

PERFECT! YUP! Orrr Lindsay Lohan as Jess. But Bokeem Woodbine was MADE to be in a project of this caliber. I don’t care if all he got is a cameo.

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  1. carlos
    October 29, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    that’s the story behind that Beyonce and Jay Z trailer. Jess is Blake Lively.

  2. DCFem
    October 29, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Read this story earlier and my first reaction was, “Why does she have to be from Detroit?!” We get so much bad publicity as it is.

    • Ash
      October 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      I had the same reaction!!!! I got to the end.. all prepared to make fun of Florida and turns out they from Detroit.

    • Shannyn
      October 29, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      I thought the same thing. Detroit is the equivalent of “The black guy did it” whenever writers need a gritty city. She must not know we have mega gentrification now and tons of new Euros running around like settlers discovering the new world lol At least our city got a shout out

    • QuitaP
      October 30, 2015 at 8:12 am

      Zola told Ava Duvernay that she was a “suburban” Beyotch. Detroit can take a loss on this one. I figured Zola to be a West Michigan kinda girl. K’Zoo, Benton Harbor, or Muskegon.

    • Rmh
      October 30, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Not me. It made so much sense to me that they were from Detroit. You know Jarrett and Jess are from Taylortucky or Macomb County.

  3. October 29, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Taylor Swift will stretch her range and play Jess. Solange will come out of retirement and play Zola like only Solange could. Jesse Williams will play Jarrett because every movie needs the tragic mulatto variable. Z is Rohan Marley.

    • QuitaP
      October 30, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Jesse would NEVA do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • January 2, 2016 at 1:22 pm


  4. Bukky
    October 29, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Been waiting on your recap ma’am! I stayed at my desk after hours to read this tale yesterday and it was WORTH it.

    I see Kyla Pratt playing the hell out of Zola, it’s who I pictured telling the story as I was reading it.

  5. Max
    October 29, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Buttttttt ! Did you see that Jess stepped into The Shade Room’s comments saying that wasn’t the real story?! I hope she tells her side just as comical !

  6. Renee
    October 29, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Zola, played by Keke Palmer or if looking for more of an “unknown,” Tiffany Hines

    Jess, played by a blonde Sarah Hyland or Analeigh Tipton.

    Z, played by ol’ dude who played Suge Knight in “Straight Outta Compton”

    Jarrett, played by Dave Franco

    Someone please make this happen.

    • Lana
      October 29, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      YES!!!! Jarrett IS Dave Franco. I can see him punching himself..

    • ladylarke
      November 2, 2015 at 11:01 am

      YES! I can see this line-up clearer than any other!

    • Bee
      February 5, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      Renee you called it James Franco for the win

  7. October 29, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Leave it up to Luvvie to clue me in as to what is going on! I kept seeing something about a Zola and Jess on my FB timeline and was clueless. LOL!

  8. Da Truth
    October 29, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Zola is a writer and doesn’t even know it. This was a story befitting of a soul train award in literature!
    My cast would be:
    Jess – Taryn Manning
    Zola – Kyla Pratt (I agree w/ Bukky)
    Jarrett – Sean Astin
    Z – Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

    • Bukky
      October 29, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      A soul train award in literature
      ::slow clap:: Yes. yes.

    • Carleen
      October 29, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      The soul train award in literature! Please let that become a thing!

    • Lollister
      November 3, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      “Soul Train Award in Literature”
      I quit you right here and now for making me laugh this hard!! And then I’m offering you one of those The Bachelor Roses cause you earned it!!

      also: Sean Astin as Jerrett is PERFECT!!!

  9. October 29, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    WHYYYYYYY am I just now reading this? Zola needs to be entered into the literary canon. This was so great it gave me everything I needed on a Thursday afternoon.

  10. Jabari Scott
    October 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    OK so this might be the fantasy talking but here goes…
    Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Zola (I can see her give bangy hood realness)
    Anne Hathaway as Jess (She gives me distress white girl so very well)
    Jake Gyllenhaal as Jarrett (go watch Love & Other Drugs, you see it)
    John David Washington as Z (Don’t you dare tell me you can’t see it!)

    Either Shonda or Kanya Burris can give the script and I need Godmomma Ava to direct

  11. Keleigh
    October 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    I’m getting a t-shirt made with, “My Love Pocket is worth thousands,” on it.

    • KayMee
      October 29, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      Yasssss! I’d rock that.

  12. Lanise
    October 29, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Mmmmmm oh my gawd!!!

  13. Ms Brome
    October 29, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Have you seen all the Celebs and filmmakers who are following her now? Ava DuVernay is following her.

    • Annette
      October 29, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Hey they know a good story when they see it. Would make a good movie. I can’t believe I was laughing, screaming, howling uncontrollably.

      I would definitely go see it with the right in the key parts. I hope someone contacted her to do a script. I am sure she has a lot of other stories to tell.

  14. Milaxx
    October 29, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Taryn Manning gotta be Jess. Lindsey can’t act. Anybody who has seen Sons of Anarchy or Orange is the New Black knows Taryn was born to play Jess.

    However I want Anwar Glover aka Slim Charles from The Wire to play dreads guy.

  15. October 29, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    That is some perfect casting.

  16. Hidaya
    October 29, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    This story is not original. Sounds like a just-for-Netflix film.

  17. Cat
    October 29, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    “Ima full nude typa bitch”

    Because: STANDARDS. If you pride yourself on your hoeism, you betta do that do that shit RIGHT.

    I was literally dying before they even got to Florida. From “vibing over our hoeism” to when she called and said “Bitch, I SAID who’s all going” (if you going on a hoe trip, it’s important to know who your traveling companions are) I am officially a corpse. If this isn’t a Lifetime movie by next summer, I swear I’m gonna write the screenplay and send it to everybody who’s got some money and a camera lol!

  18. jaz
    October 29, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    This definitely needs to be a lifetime movie.

    Lets see : K. Heigl as Jess ( I mean … what exactly is she doing right now? )
    Kyla Pratt : Zola
    Jarrett: maybe Shia ?
    Z: idk

  19. Lala
    October 29, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    This story was completely engaging. I would watch the hell out of this fr.

  20. October 29, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    I LIVED for this story! Yeessss!!! She def needs to be a writer.

  21. Ty
    October 29, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    I’m so hoping that Zola will be one of my hood cousins’ new boo that he invites to Christmas dinner. I’d make her recount the entire story all over again to my momma and aunties while we sit on the couch sippin’ hot cocoa and peppermint schnapps.

  22. Carriecnh12
    October 29, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Luvvie I have been waiting on your full recap. Zola is hilarious and the thing is that I don’t think she knows how funny she actually is. I tweeted her that when she signs that book and movie deal she had better demand her points on the back end, because that is where the real money is, everyone and their boss is going to go and see this movie.

    I was not expecting a story (whether true or false) that is so engaging to come from a bunch of tweets, but it has been done, Zola is the next big thing. And shonda better not put her hands on this gem, she would turn it into a messy drama instead of an entertaining drama, I think Miss Burris, the writer of Black-ish is the perfect person to do the movie screen-play.

    Zola – Keke Palmer , GuGu M’Batha-Raw
    Jarrett – Andre Garfield
    Jess – Anne Hathaway, Taryn Manning
    Z – The guy who played Shug Night

    • Kris
      October 30, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Ooooh… Andrew Garfield as Jarrett?! Good one, I see that. Or dude who played the youngest white brother on Four Brothers. I see him for that too.

  23. CP Patrick
    October 29, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I. Am. SCREAMING!!! LOL This gave me life!! ????

  24. Shannyn
    October 29, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Give this girl the Donald Goines award for OUTSTANDING rachet literature. I read this at work and wanted to squeak out loud.

  25. KayMee
    October 29, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Lots of detractors in FB and TwitterLand saying this story is false. Even if it’s not true, Zola is giving us a story where the Brown Girl is smart, funny and ultimately WINS at life. The RacismMachine can’t imagine that a street smart, stripper can have the whole Internet intrigued and engaged with her exploits. I hope she turns this into an opportunity. We are all getting “pimped” in some form or fashion so I say, You GO Zo! #HoismOnYourOwnTerms

    • whilome
      October 30, 2015 at 8:21 am

      The internet detectives were on the case and found the media reports of the shooting at the Red Roof Inn in Florida and subsequent arrest of the the African dude in Vegas on trafficking minors. I loved the story, but if it turns out that Jess was one of the 15 year olds, Zola just admitted to tricking her out.

      • Kris
        October 30, 2015 at 9:42 am

        I can’t help but to expect to hear that Zola has been arrested for her criminal admissions on Twitter. I just feel that a detective or two will be on her doorstep before the end of next week. Hope she didn’t just get herself legally hemmed up.

  26. notconvincedgranny
    October 29, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    “You do not do reckless shit amongst family zones.”

    Or as we say, a cat doesn’t shit where it eats.

  27. Shar
    October 29, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Yooooo, I got my ENTIRE life reading this story and was mad I got called into a meeting midway through but it was even better the second time around…. Damb Trump and nem for prez, I vote Zola. She got hella negotiation skills and I bet the national deficit would be zero with her putting quality pricing on errthang!!!

  28. T.Year
    October 29, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    This story broke my heart. I didn’t think it was funny at all. I love you Luvvie but this is not something to make fun of. Women are being destroyed by trafficking. I am heart broken. I pray this isn’t true.

    • SteffieL
      October 31, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      I agree. I found it appalling. She is a good writer, though.

  29. Hattie
    October 30, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Zola is a brilliant negotiator and a survivor. I agree. She is a talented storyteller. I was laughing out loud at so many parts of her tale.

  30. October 30, 2015 at 10:16 am

    That girl told that story like a boss! So many ratchet quotables!
    You called Florida “America’s Penis”, though!!! LOL #iamunable

  31. TEE
    October 30, 2015 at 11:08 am


  32. October 30, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    1. I laughed through the whole story. it had everything. despite the subject matter, this is actually real life for too many people. if its a true story, the author might want to get a lawyer real quick (i know a good one in Detroit)

    2. as someone from detroit, i was like, MAN!!! she’s from the D!! but then again, after thinking about it, I could see it…lol

    3. someone give this girl a writing job on TV. She’s better than most of the so called ‘professionals’ writing on TV today!
    4. now i gotta follow her on twitter LOL cause i know she got more stories like that in her!
    5. hopefully the young girls reading this will take away the kernels of truth dropped throughout the story!

  33. She
    October 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I have been waiting anxiously for your recap and you did not disappoint. Bokeem Woodbine….yeeeeesssss!

  34. Akuba Torvikey Dawkins
    October 31, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Taryn is spot on. Love the cast except Bokeem. He doesn’t have locs and i’m afraid of another Mekhi Phifer situation like 8 mile. Let’s just find someone with real locs lol

    • Rob
      November 11, 2015 at 9:06 am

      LMAO!!! “i’m afraid of another Mekhi Phifer situation like 8 mile.” TRUTH!!! KMSL!!!!

  35. October 31, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I am all late, but I knew Luvvie would do justice on Zolagate. NYMag had a piece on this and the author (Pulley) basically said she could not get down with Zola’s story because she lacked empathy, arghuuuuuu. This coded language—I had to respond to the foolishness. https://1tennismate.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/understanding-zolas-empathy/

    If Taryn Manning is not available then I Christina Ricci gets my vote.

  36. November 4, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    “I was like (Oh, his name z? Okay. Got it)” That’s Shakespeare right there.