Two weeks ago, my son came across this funny kid on YouTube lip syncing to some recent popular songs. I watched along with him, and my mind was occupied thinking about the background story of this boy. Why was he uploading so many videos? How had he gained such a mass audience, or as Chris Anderson would say, how had he attracted so much light? (The above video has been viewed over 17 million times!) Did his parents know what he was doing in his room? Does he read the comments left on YouTube and how does he deal with the ‘hate’ comments that appear on his videos? Do the positive, supportive comments inspire him to go on? How has his YouTube fame changed his life?
Some answers came to me today when I uncovered the video below. The boy’s name is Keenan Cahill, and recently he was asked to appear on a talk show in the United States hosted by someone with the name of Chelsea Lately. Her production team arranged for rap singer 50 cent to make a guest appearance in Keenan’s room and perform with him.
15-year-old YouTube star Keenan Cahill has a rare genetic disorder called Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome, also known as MPS-VI. Those with the disorder usually stop growing at about age 8 and are characterized by a shortened trunk and restricted movement.
This disorder, which affects one in 25,000 people, has no known cure.
In my quest to discover more about how Keenan came to be a YouTube star, I uncovered this interview with him recorded from a Chicago radio station interview in March 2009. In it, you discover that Keenan started uploading videos without his parents’ knowledge. It was when he started getting emails from afar that he let his parents know what he’d been doing.
Keenan represents the new breed of internet sensation. People who can attract the light to them and gain notoriety and ‘fame’ in the process. How long will it last and where will it take him? Who knows?
Me, I admire him. I admire him for having a go. I admire him for rising above the pretty ghastly comments you can find in the comment stream on YouTube that make me despair a little bit for the future of humanity. Make the most of your time in the sun Keenan and let it take you far. You’re certainly making a good go of it!
You, enjoy the weekend ahead. Make a good go of it. Think about how you’ll make your dent in the universe. : )