Formerly prisoned Afrika Owes, clears Bar Exam in first try

Afrika Owes, a single mother who was put behind the bars when she was 17, passes Bar Exam in first go. Hailing from New York, she has joined the rank of 2% Black Women attorneys in the United States and the less than 1% of formerly incarcerated black attorneys in the U.S.

Reportedly, the world got to know about her when a video of her went viral upon sharing the reaction to the news that she has cleared the bar exam just after her first attempt.


The formerly incarcerated 30-year-old mother shared a TikTok video on Thursday, April 25, 2024, while recording her reaction to checking her bar exam results. As the Fordham University School of Law third-year student read her result, she shouts, “I passed!” twice.

Fordham University
Fordham University

After knowing the result, she burst into tears by reading the news and then she starts jumping around in the excitement. Later, Owes thanked her mother, grandmother and son Kairos while holding up individual pictures of each of them.

Afrika Owes presented her gratitude to her family and captioned in an Instagram post, “Thank you to my angels, to my momma, my grandmama and my ancestors. Thank you for my son, my amazing brother, as without him this video wouldn’t even be possible.”

Afrika Owes with her son
Afrika Owes with her son

“Thank you to my family, my tribe and my best friends. Thank you to my mentors, my supporters, my cheerleaders, both loud and silent; those close and those watching from afar,” writes Owes.

She extended her thanks to the Fordham University and BLSA RAMily who have supported her earlier, when she stepped foot on campus. She also thanked Harlem, as she got her first degree from Lenox Ave university.


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Owes further wrote, “Thank you God, thanks for every tear, every trial, every loss and every failure. Thank you for the wins, the blessings and accomplishments. Thanks for wrapping your angel wings around me, Ma. Though it’s bittersweet because you’re not here, you’ve never left my side.”

“I’m happy to join the ranks of the 2% Black women attorneys in the US and the less than 1% of formerly incarcerated black attorneys in the US,” adds Afrika Nora Owes.

As per the sources, Afrika Owes was charged as part of a gang-related conspiracy case back in 2011. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy and weapons possession, both felonies.

She was then sentenced under the New York Youthful Offender program and served for six months on Rikers Island with five years of probation after her release but wound up doing two years.

Afrika Owes in Fordham University's Uniform
Afrika Owes in Fordham University’s Uniform

During her sentence, she studied for both SAT and GED, and by the time she was released, she was able to complete high school and headed to college, where she completed her first two years while finishing the probation period too.

As per her vlog, Owes graduated cum laude from Hobart & William Smith Colleges with a degree in Sociology and minors in Africana Studies and Public policy.

Afrika Nora Owes has graduated from Fordham University School of Law and will be working in tax law at a big law firm and hopes to get a judicial clerkship later in her career.