Shaka Senghor's Life-Changing Epiphany

Season 7 Episode 707
CC | tv-14
When he was just 17 years old, Shaka Senghor was convicted of second-degree murder, and he went on to spend 19 years in prison. Shaka arrived in prison seething with anger and resentment, refusing to take responsibility for his actions. It wasn't long before he was sent to solitary confinement for lashing out.

Alone and hopeless, Shaka recalls receiving a letter from his eldest son, Jay, which seemed like a ray of light in the dark confines of his cell. Shaka tells Oprah what he read in the letter: "Dear Dad, my mother told me you was in prison for murder. Dear Dad, don't murder anymore. Jesus watches what you do. Pray to him, and he'll forgive your sins."

Shaka says he experienced a life-changing epiphany after reading the letter. His son's words shattered his understanding of himself. "It was like I can't—whatever I do, if I never get out of prison, I refuse for that to be the legacy for my child. Like, I couldn't go through the rest of my life with him—that being the final way that he sees me. And it was heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking on so many levels."

In the above video, Shaka reveals how the letter inspired him to turn his life around and become a better role model for his son.