Kpop Influencer Dave Disci Talks About What It Means To Be Asian In Media
Dave Disci is an Influencer and Entrepreneur. He specializes mainly in Kpop and News content on YouTube and Tiktok. He is most notably known for his reports on Kpop stars and their impact on the US and Korean economy. He’s also been able to leverage his following to create change in the industry. He has then been able to turn his social media growth into a full blown media business to not only create videos and help others grow on social media with a social media managing consulting business.
HI, WELCOME TO ABOUT INSIDER! THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO IS DAVE DISCI IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
Hi, how are you? It’s always tough when I get questions like this. To me Dave Disci is a bit of a character that I put on. The name Disci actually came from when I was younger and I was jealous that all my other White friends had middle names but I did not. I asked my parents if I could have one and we actually went down and got a name changing form. I had two names written on there, Bob and some scribble that appeared like D-I-S-C-I. We never submitted the form but I found it years later when I was trying to come up with a YouTube name. I was also always really uncomfortable with the name Dave and preferred people to call me David. I never really liked Dave. So when I chose Dave Disci, it was supposed to represent a constant reminder to be uncomfortable (Dave) but also stay true to your younger self (Disci). And when I slip into “Dave Disci”, I feel like I become those things.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AS A FUZOUNESE YOUTUBER AND ASIAN POP CULTURE EXPERT? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START SHARING NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD AND FOCUSING ON SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, PARTICULARLY RELATED TO YOUR HERITAGE AND IMMIGRATION EXPERIENCE?
I’ve always wanted to make some sort of change as I’ve always felt everything was unfair. Growing up, I remember in middle school I was literally the only Chinese person in my entire class. And I was heavily picked on for that. Racism comes in a lot of different forms and mine was not as obvious as you would think. Of course the occasional “chink” or slanty eye joke was inevitable. A lot of the Chinese kids in my high school struggled with sports because unlike American families, immigrant families really didn’t have time to train their kids and play ball with them at a young age. So obviously, I was going to be bad at sports. Being made fun of even for simple things like that was a sign of privilege that I didn’t have growing up as my parents were struggling to find their next meal. Because of that I was also severely underweight and made fun of for being weak or called “lazy” because I didn’t have energy to even jog in gym class. These more nuanced issues were issues that were never brought up when people talk about racism or classism. And things I often reference to in my videos. There’s also a stereotype that all Asian men are unsexy and virgins are not only racist but hold an impossible standard. If you’re constantly worrying about eating and your next meal, when do you have time to think about sex? The social justice issues I try to bring up revolve around these ideas.
Being Fuzhounese and being my own representation of that was huge for me. When I started YouTube, there were simply no Fuzhounese people in the media. When I worked with YouTuber Xiaomanyc, who is also a close friend, we created a video where I taught him Fuzhounese and he spoke it to locals in New York. Currently I was told it’s still the most viewed Fuzhounese video on the Platform with over 10 million views, and I am very proud of that. I hope to continue to bring awareness not only to Fuzhounese but Asian culture in general.
WITH A SIGNIFICANT FOLLOWING ON TIKTOK, YOUTUBE, INSTAGRAM, AND SNAPCHAT, HOW DO YOU USE YOUR PLATFORM TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES AND SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES AS AN IMMIGRANT IN AMERICA? WHAT IMPACT DO YOU HOPE TO MAKE WITH YOUR CONTENT?
I try to sprinkle it in. If you are too political too fast, you’ll lose your audience and people will leave quickly. However, on my YouTube I’ll sprinkle it in here and there and try to get people to think about it. Also labeling things as racist tends to turn off people quickly. People immediately get defensive, but saying “It’s not great when people…” seems to be a better approach.
For a lot of the content I make on Tiktok, Snapchat, Reels, etc… They tend to be short form and really the main purpose there is to get faces like mine out there. The more people see faces similar to mine in the media and on their screens it becomes hard to say those people are ugly. I’ve noticed a huge change and a lot more people now are calling Kpop idols hot and attractive as opposed to the former narrative of girly and gay. This is all because we are starting to be more familiar with those faces.
CAN YOU ELABORATE ON YOUR ROLE AS AN ASIAN POP CULTURE EXPERT?
I try to do as much research as I possibly can. Even being from a similar geographic area, it doesn’t mean I know everything. Understanding the different cultures within a culture is very important. And I try to make sure I can accurately talk about those things. I also try very hard to talk about how Asian culture can affect everyone’s lives by talking about the economic impact of Kpop into the world. Money is really the only way to get people to listen.
AS AN ASIAN POP CULTURE EXPERT, HOW DO YOU PROMOTE AND CELEBRATE ASIAN CULTURE THROUGH YOUR CONTENT? WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF ASIAN CULTURE THAT YOU WANT TO HIGHLIGHT, AND HOW DO YOU COMBAT STEREOTYPES OR MISCONCEPTIONS?
I think simply just being is enough to break stereotypes. Because a lot of the stereotypes don’t fit most Asians. I can simply exist, live my life, and show my personality on screen and that really is enough to show anyone watching that Asians don’t fit into these stereotypes. Jokes like Asians will blindfold themselves with floss don’t make any sense when you’re looking at a YouTube video of a Chinese person with relatively big eyes. Showing Asians on screen and normalizing that is a big way to celebrate the culture and also fight ignorance.
WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
A lot of the people I look up to are business people and visionaries. I loved Steve Jobs, and Taiwanese director Lee Ang. They had a vision for the world and they went for it. They also caused some pretty big changes in the world right now and I really look up to their contributions.
WHAT’S SOMETHING WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT MIGHT SURPRISE US?
I think most people think I just do YouTube and then call it a day. But I find it hard to sit still. I also work on social media management for companies and other influencers. So if you need anyone, feel free to reach out. I also have rental property and I plan on expanding that business. It’s currently rented out to a family, which if they don’t want to move out, I would love if they stayed.
WHAT IS ONE MESSAGE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO GIVE TO YOUR FANS?
Whatever your dream is, it’s worth fighting for. You only ever “fail” when it’s over and the results are being tallied. But if it’s never over, the score isn’t finalized yet. So keep fighting for your dream, it’s not over until you’re dead.
WHERE CAN OUR READERS FIND YOU ONLINE?
I’m always on instagram and if you want to connect with me, feel free to reach out there. It’s @dave.disci. If you want to check out my YouTube videos and my Kpop breakdowns, check out www.youtube.com/davedisci.