NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — For the first nine years of his life, 16-year-old Justin suffered from abuse.
“It was horrifying because I remember two memories of me getting abused by my biological father,” he said.
This led to Justin and his two younger sisters being removed from their biological home seven years ago.
They were placed into Arkansas’ foster care system, but a few years later the siblings ended up back in their mother’s custody.
Justin was 12-years-old at the time. He said he and his sisters were removed from the home yet again after they endured more abuse, this time at the hands of their stepfather.
“I knew I couldn’t protect my mom or my sisters because I was too young and too little,” he said.
Foster homes and group homes have been Justin’s home ever since.
“I used to have no trust and used to be angry all the time but I’ve figured out ways that I could calm myself down,” Justin said.
After a traumatic childhood, writing raps has been very cathartic for Justin.
“I like writing rap, especially Christian rap, because it helps me focus on the positives in life and not the negatives.”
Christian rappers NF and Lecrae have been a major inspiration to him.
“[They taught me to] not always focus on the bad. There’s always good somewhere in the darkness,” he said.
It’s this message that’s embodied throughout a rap Justin wrote himself called, ‘Love by God.” When he performs it, he goes by “J Boogie.”
“They come from my heart,” Justin said when it was commented how deep his lyrics are.
His faith is at the forefront of his rap, and something he wants at the forefront of any family that considers adopting him.
Justin said, “what I would like in a family is to be Christians, respect other’s beliefs and be there for one another no matter how hard the times.”
As a junior in High School, Justin’s really hoping to find a family before he ages out of Arkansas’ foster care system.
“Someone that can support him as he goes into adulthood because he’s about to graduate high school and he does want to go to college so he just needs that strong support,” said Madison Franks with the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services.
He also wants a family that’ll allow him to maintain contact with his two siblings who have already been adopted themselves.
In addition to writing raps, Justin also loves to play basketball.
“Basketball is one of the main things I’ve actually been good at,” Justin said.
Sometimes he gets to go to the Jones Center in Springdale to play pickup”[the] last time we played we got whooped. I’m sorry. Those 8th graders.”
Because Justin is a big Razorback basketball fan, KNWA tried to arrange a meeting between Justin and some players, but due to rising COVID-19 cases the University of Arkansas wasn’t able to accommodate.
The team still was able to bring a smile to Justin’s face, though, when they surprised him with a basketball signed by Head Coach Eric Musselman.
Justin was nearly speechless when he got it and said, “I never expected a team like that to give me a ball.”