Skip to main content

Newly married Cyntoia Brown-Long sat down for an interview where she spoke about life since her release from prison.

Even though she has been freed from prison, her mind is still with the women she left behind bars.

"There's nothing special about me," she told NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt. "I can't tell you how many Cyntoia Browns still in prison. The women who helped me get to this point, they're still in prison for 51 years and up with ridiculous sentences. And they don't have hope right now."

Cyntoia, 31, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 51 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old real estate agent, who in 2004 solicited her for sex when she was only 16. According to Cyntoia she was forced into prostitution as a child and feared for her life during her encounter with Allen. She served 15 years in prison.

Cyntoia's story was first brought to light in a 2011 documentary entitled Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story. In 2017, however, her story went viral on social media and sparked a huge public outcry with celebrities such as Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, T.I. and Lebron James speaking out about her sentence.

Cyntoia became the poster child for the maltreatment of black women in the criminal justice system and the imbalance of their harsh sentences when compared to white women who are convicted of similar crimes. After much media coverage and public protest, she was eventually granted clemency by Gov. Bill Haslam a few months back.

"You meet these young girls who are in these situations, and they don't view themselves as being pimped," she said. "They don't view their trafficker as their trafficker. They think, 'This is my boyfriend.' And that's exactly what I thought. I thought, 'This is my boyfriend. I'm in a relationship. I'm his Bonnie, he's my Clyde.'"