Words by Alexandra Salandy & NDSmith

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Miracles can happen!

Lorenzo Murphy Jr. (known to his community as Zo The Motivator) is proof of that.


A 23-year-old Morehouse College student from Compton, Lorenzo’s wildest dreams became reality shortly after meeting Tyrese Gibson.

The streets of Compton aren’t known for producing scholars (though folk like director Ava Duvernay, athletes Venus and Serena Williams and comedian Anthony Anderson are definitely changing the perception of what’s in the water), but Murphy had a gut feeling that there was more for him beyond his hood. Since a young boy, he had dreams of attending Morehouse College and becoming a professional basketball player. And he worked hard to achieve that goal.  However during his senior year while others were opening acceptance package, his maroon and white envelope did not come.

Murphy was devastated. He battled with depression, but despite his disappointment enrolled in a local junior college, took a full academic load and worked two jobs.  Although times were tough, Lorenzo found light by  making inspirational and motivating videos on Instagram. That’s where “Zo the Motivator” was born.

As Zoe the Motivator, he realized that there was triumph after his deepest valley. He also recognized he was gaining a following. One of his followers was R&B superstar and Fast & Furious lead, Tyrese Gibson.  Actually, Tyrese not only watched his videos but was so moved that he direct messaged Murphy and changed the trajectory of his life forever.  Tyrese reached out to him to say how he was proud of what Zo was doing and that he wants to meet him.  The rest is history…  The Grammy nominated singer took Zo under his wing and helped him step closer to his dream to be a Morehouse man by providing him with a scholarship gift.

Lorenzo said, “Tyrese has been there for me in every moment of lack and need.”

Lorenzo Murphy Jr. is now a graduating senior at Morehouse College, studying film, television and entertainment. Zo is a renaissance man with aspirations to inspire the masses by becoming a business and entertainment mogul.

Tyrese definitely paid it forward by taking a chance on a young Compton youth, whom he saw great value and potential in.