How True Is The 'Zola' Story?

Was Jarrett really lost in the sauce? Was Jess really lost in the game? Who was really trapping in Florida that weekend?

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Have you heard #TheStory? Even if you haven’t, chances are you’ve at least heard of it. Aziah "Zola" Wells's infamous Twitter tale of a road trip to Florida gone horribly, hilariously wrong has attracted attention from every corner of the Internet. But is it all a load of crap? Despite the widespread love #TheStory has received, Zola's tale remains heavily contested. Jess and Jarrett—two of the most outrageous supporting characters in Zola's story—have gone on record claiming that Zola’s story, or at least some of it, is one big fat lie.

Those who have read #TheStory can recall that Jess is painted as a naïve young woman who constantly needs Zola to hold her hand. If it isn’t true, no one can really blame Jess for feeling some type of way about the situation. Earlier this month, Jess set the record straight by telling her version of #TheStory on Reddit, and the details Jess shared differ drastically from what Zola posted on Twitter that fateful night. 

For starters, Jess claims that Zola is the one who did all the trapping during the Florida trip, while she herself opted out of any type of prostitution. In fact, the roles of Jess and Zola are completely reversed in Jess's story: Zola is the one who constantly needs Jess to get her out of trouble, most notably when Jess allegedly had to drag Zola out of a room of “half-naked Mexican men” who apparently had no intention of paying her. And that first night at the strip club? It was Jess who raked in the cash while Zola only made $1.

What Jess doesn't deny is her role in getting other girls involved in the trap life. As she told Rolling Stone, "I was helping other girls be put into that situation and as someone who’s been sexually abused, why would I do that? All I can say is that I was literally brainwashed by Rudy…"

Rudy, of course, is really Z,  a sex trafficker who earned a starring role in Zola's story as the trigger-happy pimp who supposedly shot a rival pimp in the face. As the Internet quickly deduced, Z's real name is Akporode Uwedjojevwe, and he currently resides in a Nevada jail, held on multiple counts of sex trafficking. And that whole part about him shooting a rival in the face? Zola, Jess, and Jarrett all agree: the actual shooting never happened.

Zola's original story claims that it was Jess who was kidnapped by a rival pimp (which later led to the killing); Jess claims it was Zola who was snatched, while Jarrett said that it never happened to either of them. According to Jarrett, there was no pimp showdown that night. He and Rudy drove Jess to the hotel for the call, and she was waiting for them in the lobby (unharmed) once the deed was done. The only thing that Rudy did do is instruct the hotel clerk to call the police because a man had just tried to snatch his girlfriend—much more subtle than shooting someone in the face and then high-tailing it outta dodge.

Also, that unintentionally hilarious suicide attempt? Never happened either. Though Jarrett did hit himself in the face and threaten to jump off the balcony and kill himself, he never did (and he certainly didn't get caught on the way down).

Meanwhile, Jarrett says that both Zola and Jess are lying: everybody was trapping during that trip to Florida, and he has the receipts to prove it. He posted a link to Jess's ad on Backpage, and anyone with eyes can see that it's clearly her (Zola can be seen in the background of one of the photos, but she isn't advertised in the ad).

Still, even the exact wording of Jarrett's tweet leads to confusion: "Essentially as far as I’m concerned both Jess and Zola turned tricks but from what I saw Zola wasn’t really wanting any part of turning tricks and that’s why she and me, me and her were sent home because basically Z and Jess were like, 'You two are against us. You’re dragging us down.'"

So Zola was trapping too, only she wasn't? #TheStory remains a tangled web of entertaining exaggerations and lies, and it's likely the whole truth will never really see the light of day. But at this point, does it even matter? Whether Jarrett ever really jumped off the balcony or not, one thing is certain: Aziah King sure knows how to tell a good story.

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