How Dave Disci Is Helping To Make the Entertainment Industry More Diverse and Representative

Posted on

Don’t burn bridges and don’t cut people out so quickly. I was a very defensive kid, so I thought the world was against me and in many ways I still do. So, I was very quick at cutting people out who I felt wronged me even if they didn’t. But a lot of those people are actually very kind and great people once I rekindled things and apologized. And lots of them are really successful now and I wish them the best.

As a part of my series about leaders helping to make the entertainment industry more diverse and representative, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dave Disci.

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 to the US and Korean economy. He’s been able to turn his social media growth in a full blown media business to not only create videos and help others grow on social media.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t want to create things. My parents came from Hong Kong to America and had a very conservative and had a very traditional idea of what it means to have a job or a career. Fair enough, they came all the way over here for that reason. And I saw what they had, and I really didn’t want that. I felt like I had something more creative to offer the world.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I saw what I could do to inspire the people around me. My parents were very poor and after the twin towers fell in 9/11, my family’s small restaurant went bankrupt, and we were homeless for a good chunk of time. My parent vowed to never do a business again given how unstable it was an encouraged me not to as well. I was able to help my family break that and even inspired my mom to start her own small little business and for her to see that she can do it again.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Okay, everyone will suck when they first turn on the camera. I was very a quiet and shy kid. So I really had no energy on camera. I made a video where I was dancing (horribly and low energy) in front of the camera and being silly. It was like watching a stiff zombie trying to move. The video really had no point and I think I was like 17 at the time. Someone picked up the video and posted it on Reddit. It went semi-viral in the worse way and then people were leaving comments to say that Asian men are all super cringe.

Ok, thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our discussion. Can you describe how you are helping to make popular culture more representative of the US population?

My channel focuses a lot on Kpop which for a while didn’t really have much representation here in the US. What has always irked me about Kpop is that people don’t realize it’s just pop music that is in Korean. It’s not a different genre so I’m confused when people categorize it or talk about it as if it’s some foreign or cultural type of music. I’ve had people tell me they thought it was music that was played during Korean ceremonies or sung at Korean church. And then the other half thinking it’s something only nerds or little kids listen to. My goal is normalizing the genre and also trying to show that it’s okay to like literal music no matter your age, gender, or where you’re from.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by the work you are doing?

I think something I don’t talk about too much is my work behind the scenes. I work as a social media manager also and I’ve helped many big youtubers and some you might know like Xiaomanyc or Vincent Gao. I would spend hours together with them and even on the phone brain storming video ideas. Of course since they are a friend, I do not charge them. But I do this with a lot of my clients to try to offer help whenever I can. I think it’s very difficult to look at any channel or any particular person to say that they haven’t been impacted by other people’s help.

As an insider, this might be obvious to you, but I think it’s instructive to articulate this for the public who might not have the same inside knowledge. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important to have diversity represented in Entertainment and its potential effects on our culture?

This might get a little TMI but here goes. I never felt sexy. I never felt like I was hot or attractive and I have to say a big part of that was because I wasn’t seeing faces like mine in the media. A lot of people have their sexual awakening from looking at underwear models, whether that’s male or female underwear models. And the bottom line is, Asian men underwear models did not exist. And you might think this is not a big deal but Asian men have had a history of being sexually suppressed by the media and by society as a whole. Comments like small penis, ugly, and nerdy are often said to bully Asian boys and I’m sure if you are an Asian boy reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The fact of the matter is if the hottest faces in media were Asian men, those comments could not be made by students in school to bully other Asian kids. And we wouldn’t have street interview videos on YouTube where American women laugh at the idea of dating an Asian guy. Other ideologies of being able to feel like the culture we want to represent isn’t constantly being attacked. The fact that when I was kid, I could never get Chinese New Year off, my school called it “not a real holiday”. Meanwhile the Jewish kids had their holidays to be with their family. I had relative flying in just for a day that I only got to spend an hour with because I’d come home late, and then have to rush off to finish my homework. So, I definitely feel if people felt like Asian culture was more important because they saw more of it in the media, then incidences like this won’t happen. And of course, lastly, there’s no shame in saying that I would love to have more TV and film opportunities as an Asian man because a lot of Asian men are great actors too.

Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do to help address the root of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?

I think it starts with writers and casting directors. I was talking to a script writer before and ask them how they come up with the descriptions for their main characters. They told me whatever image popped up in their head at that moment is usually the character they start to describe. And more often than not, the person they see in their head is a White person.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Clearing a path that might be less traveled, have murky roads, and is maybe thorny and spikey. And then eventually, you’ll then be able to bring everyone else along once the path is semi-cleared.

I don’t think I am doing anything out of the ordinary or anything that has not been done before. But I have seen a lot of people quit making Kpop videos once the hate gets really intense. And with Kpop, the hate will get really bad. And that’s really the time you need to keep moving. And I hope one day people can see that there is a fight here that’s worth fighting for and it goes far beyond music.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

I wish someone told me about this genre more. I think I’ve made a lot of mistakes trying to grow on social media very fast. Kpop is something I am very passionate about and love, but I had no idea the audience would have perceived me the way some of the haters have. If I had to start over, I don’t know if I would have the heart to deal with all that again.

I wish someone told me how lonely being a creator would be. I had a lot of creator friends but obviously they’re extremely busy. However, given their genre was either travel, language, or anything that require leaving the house to make, they were often not alone, out to cool places, and having a lot of fun. My videos were mostly done at home. And so, when everyone told me how fun it was, I felt like I was doing something wrong since it was super isolating for me at times.

I wish someone told me that it’s okay to show people my videos and to not be shy about me wanting to be on camera. I think I would have grown much faster as a person if I had someone critique me. I grew up with a very poor family and so we often lived in tiny apartments that we had to tip toe around in fear that we’d get kicked out if we made too much noise. I was also embarrassed of this idea that I wanted this career. I felt like everyone would tell me that I was crazy and dreaming. So when I started YouTube at 16, I was talking so quietly and appeared so low energy, I never showed anyone that I knew. And I wish I did because then someone could have told me that my videos simply sucked and I needed to put more energy or drink a Redbull or something.

Something I did not realize as a kid was that it is totally okay to not do so well in the beginning. I felt like there wasn’t even a point in having merch or starting a Patreon unless I shattered records when I launched it. I’m not sure if others feel this way, but I definitely felt like if I didn’t do that, it would be embarrassing to even launch. And that is so stupid. Just do it and even if no one signs up or buys you’re merch, that’s okay.

Don’t burn bridges and don’t cut people out so quickly. I was a very defensive kid, so I thought the world was against me and in many ways I still do. So, I was very quick at cutting people out who I felt wronged me even if they didn’t. But a lot of those people are actually very kind and great people once I rekindled things and apologized. And lots of them are really successful now and I wish them the best.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I often don’t feel like my influence is that large and it could be a case of imposter syndrome. I think we all actually have a lot more power than we give ourselves credit for and if there’s a law that you want changed or a movement that needs to happen, reach out to your local politician and let them know. There’s way too many laws and movements I would love to spark change to but it’s hard to put a spotlight on one to say that’s the most important one. There’s many cases of racism that still exists in the US and I really don’t think Stop Asian Hate had a big enough movement. Here in Flushing New York, Chinese Street vendors are being attacked for simply doing their job and then we have another Asian politician making these laws to attack the lower-class Asians. If this is not internalized racism, I don’t know what else is. But anyway, whatever you care about, call your politician. They need your votes to remain in office, and if you call close to voting month, you can bet they’ll do anything in their power to grant you what you want so they can stay in office.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I remember as a little kid I went into the school cafeteria for lunch. We had a bunch of trays of food laid out and I was feeling a bit shy to ask which food I wanted. I secretly really wanted nuggets, but I was embarrassed of that for some reason. I guess I was stuttering or not saying anything and the lunch lady said “hey if you don’t speak up on what you want, you won’t get anything” or something along those lines. And I don’t think she understood how much that quote has affected my life in way so beyond just school cafeteria lunches. When I want something now, I try to make it as clear as possible.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to have a meal with Bang Si-Hyuk, the chairman of Kpop group BTS’ label (HYBE). I heavily respect his work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit. I would love to get advice from him and honestly tell him how much I respect him. Although I doubt that would be possible as he is likely too busy. I also really like Justin Bieber.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Let’s connect on Instagram, I love talking to new people and I assume if you’re reading this, you’re my type of people. It’s and if you want to find me anywhere else on the internet, simply write Dave Disci in and you should find me on TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, where ever.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

How Dave Disci Is Helping To Make the Entertainment Industry More Diverse and Representative was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.