top of page

Otis Johnson went to jail at the age of 25. When he got out at 69, he rejoined a world that was starkly different from the one he remembered. This is his story.


In 2015, we met Otis Johnson at a New York City shelter for ex-convicts. Everyone there was trying to get their feet back on the ground. Otis had just got out of prison after serving a 44-year sentence. The last time he had seen his family was May 1975.

My life after 44 years in prison | Al Jazeera

When we first shared Otis's story of being reintroduced to the modern world, viewers were amazed by just how unfamiliar everything was to him. iPhones had replaced pay phones, Times Square was a wonder of modern technology, peanut butter and jelly were now sold together in one jar... everything was new or starkly different.


Otis's story clearly resonated with the more than 15 million people who watched it on YouTube, and we wanted to show them what happened next.


Reconnecting with his family had always been an important dream for Otis, he always said he wanted to do that, but he had not gone to find them yet as he tried to understand this new world he was in.


So we went to Asbury Park in New Jersey with him to try to track down his family. All he had was a small box where he kept tattered old photos of family members. That was his only information.

Cuba’s reggaeton craze | Al Jazeera

Finding my family after 44 years in prison | Al Jazeera

'Cuba is its music and music is Cuba.'


The inspiring story of two reggaeton musicians in Cuba who are defying all odds to keep their dreams alive.


Eduardo Nodarse and Brayan Martinez Calvo, known respectively as Danyer y El Kometa (D&K), have been making music together for eight years. But reaching stardom is never easy for young struggling artists, especially if they live in Cuba.


The duo are part of the island's explosive generation grinding to a new anthem: reggaeton, where Brayan and Eduardo strive to shine.


But the two young men face a great challenge: Cuba's lack of internet access. High-speed internet has allowed hundreds of international artists such as Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran to achieve international recognition through YouTube or MySpace.

bottom of page