I’ve Learned. I’m Learning. I Want to Use My Platform to Work Hard for Good.
On my wrist, I have a tattoo that reads “With power comes responsibility.” This Spiderman quote is something my dad always used to say to me, and it’s a bit of wisdom that’s never more true than when you’re a social media influencer who’s always in front of a camera. For an 18-year-old kid from a small town in Canada, the career I have been blessed with is a dream come true.
Recently, I took the much-needed time to self-reflect. In the process, I proceeded to look at the words tattooed on my arm. This made me realize the gravity of my role in my supporter’s lives — something I feel I have often neglected. I remembered the promise I had made to myself when I got the tattoo: what is written on my arm will be a part of my code of conduct forever. I told myself, “I won’t let this homage to my dad be just some arbitrary ink on my arm.” When I concluded my self-reflection, I knew — from that moment onward — I needed to make concrete changes on the constant quest to bettering myself.
I was trying to have fun and live by my motto, “Buddy’s Hard.” This is a phrase that to me and my supporters means inclusivity to all and that we are all one big family. It’s why I used the word “buddy” and made it the focal phrase of my merchandising line. My friends, my fans, and I are all devoted to loyalty, inclusion, working hard, and playing hard. However, I often played too hard and didn’t act in the spirit of my own moral compass.
With that, I would like to apologize to everyone: my supporters, my SWAY House family, my team, and my community. I let the fame get to me; I allowed the LA partying lifestyle to consume me; and I lost my way for a bit. I forgot why I was here.
When I moved to L.A., I hoped to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s why I co-founded TalentX Entertainment, a creator development company, to help my friends monetize their platform and make sure they are being taken care of to the fullest. It also gave me the opportunity to mentor upcoming creators — something I wished I had received when I started. I promised myself to take the role as the “veteran creator” seriously. I started SWAY to help bring my friends closer together. I developed my fanbase to promote positivity, to do good, and to be a role model.
Using my platform is something I’ve always believed in. It’s why I addressed the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January to educate people about climate change. It’s why I participated in the All In Challenge to help families and kids struggling during COVID. It’s also why I donated 100% of the proceeds for my “Buddies Stronger Together” hoodies to the NAACP and offered $1,500 to a fan’s charity of choice. But all the good I’ve done feels tarnished to me because of my recklessness. I would often justify my wrongdoings by looking at the good things I have done, but that was just a mirage of self aggrandizement and faux altruism.
The road towards working for good hasn’t been without twists and turns; I know I’ll make more mistakes, but I’m learning and growing. I know a lot of fans were surprised when Jaden Hossler and I took a hiatus from SWAY; I did so in order to focus on how I can create unity and change in the world as well as to work on other ventures including music and entrepreneurship. Together, we’re working on a podcast that explores why people think the way they think and how we can help people understand each other’s opinions and differences. We are on a mission to discover the tribulations of man and hope that our supporters will join us through our journey to understand the essence of sociology and psychology. The guests we have lined up are mostly unorthodox and are some of the most formidable experts in their respective fields.
“With power comes responsibility.” This year has brought that saying home to me like never before. Thanks to all my fans and followers for helping me be better and do better. I am hopeful you will all be here to help me be a catalyst for the change we all wish to see in this world. The human race is not known for its perfection — we all mess up –but what is distinct about human resolve is our ability to get back up and not let our mistakes define us. I failed you. I own that. However, I make this promise to you all: I am back up.