Aatiqah Wright is only 22, but she reaches thousands of people each day with her iPhone.
Wright has 1.2 million followers on TikTok, a video-sharing social-networking app, where she posts short videos that inspire creativity and bring joy, all in the name of Jesus.
“Everything is all about Jesus,” said Wright, a Southeast Christian Church member. “My videos are Spirit-led. I feel like nothing I’ve posted is ever about me and Aatiqah and what she wanted to say. Anytime I would get an idea, it would just come on me and I would think, ‘OK. That’s a good idea God,’ so I would post about it. People would comment on it and say, ‘I’ve never heard it said in this way.’ I feel like the Lord has given me a gift to speak to youth specifically … and to not put myself above them, but to bring myself down here and say, ‘I was there or I’m actually still walking through that.’”
Wright’s content—about Scripture, forgiveness, salvation, dating, suffering and other topics—has resonated with youth and specifically young women. Under the username uhteakuh, Wright’s videos have hundreds of comments and a total of 24.2 million likes.
“The Lord has been so generous supplying that,” added Wright. “It’s so awesome to meet people who look up to you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out in public and little girls will come up and say, ‘Are you on TikTok? Oh my goodness, I love your videos. You helped me get closer to God.’ I say, ‘It’s not me. That’s all Jesus who is drawing you in. I’m just being used as a vessel.’”
Wright’s mom—of all people—told her about TikTok in October 2018.
“She said, ‘You should download this app,’” Wright said. “She was obsessed with it. I remember pulling it up in the App Store and looking at the icon and saying, ‘No. I’ve never heard of this mom.’ She said, ‘It’s so fun. I’ve made so many videos.’ So I downloaded it. I think I made three videos at the beginning and then I said, ‘Mom, this is just not what I’m supposed to be doing.’ I took a week off of it, and the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘You should talk about Me.’ I was like, ‘I’m not really qualified. Who am I to do that when there are so many other people seasoned in their faith?’”
Wright was born in Louisville, but moved to Jeffersonville, Indiana, when she was 3 years old.
After living with her mom—her dad was a Muslim and out of the picture by 3—she and her older brother went into the foster care system because a family member falsely reported abuse in the home.
“We bounced around from family to family,” Wright said. “In total, I was in like six or seven elementary schools. They would say, ‘Hey, you’re going to another family.’ That was rough because we have a good relationship with our mom. It was hard being separated from my mom knowing she didn’t do anything. Bouncing around from home to home, it almost felt like nobody wants you. It’s hard to make friends since you’re just going to move really quickly.”
Wright moved back with her mom around age 7, but financial struggles followed.
“We were homeless a lot of the time,” Wright added. “We would sleep in my mom’s car if she had it. Her car ended up getting taken away, and I had to live in a shelter. It was very cramped where we were. My mom would try anything to get us out of the shelter and into a normal environment, but it was a lot of struggle and strife going on.”
Wright’s mom was working the whole time, and she eventually landed a better job and moved the family into an apartment.
Though Wright knew about God, she didn’t know Him as a child.
“We would go to church, but it would be a Christmas, Easter type of thing,” she said. “The church I went to really only believed in reading from the King James Version. I never really understood messages. I grew up not really liking church.”
At New Albany High School, God brought a few people across Wright’s path, including a peculiar girl named Bree Negrone.
“She would always talk about Jesus so openly in algebra class,” Wright added. “I would say, ‘Not everyone believes, Bree. Be a little bit quieter.’ She was just so open about it because that was her personality.”
About to start her senior year of high school, Wright was devastated to hear that Bree died in a car accident.
“From then on, I knew I had to get to know the God that she served so wholeheartedly that I claimed I serve,” she said. “That’s what lit the flame in me, and I started really pursuing Jesus. I started reading my Bible.”
Wright attended Bree’s church, and while attending the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, she became active in a campus ministry that worked to share the Gospel with students.
She majored in theater, something she enjoyed since she was a child. But during her junior year, Wright felt God told her to leave college even though she was getting good grades and involved in eight campus organizations.
Wright packed her bags and withdrew from school.
Around that time, her TikTok videos were gaining traction. She realized the “calling on her life was to be in ministry.”
When Wright moved back in with her mom, she began attending Southeast’s Indiana Campus. She was baptized last July and has been involved with Southeast’s College-Age and High School ministries.
Wright feels called to disciple young people and speak at churches.