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Entertainer Demetrius Harmon’s ‘You Matter’ Brand Brings Awareness to Mental Health and Self-Positivity

Photo by Nathaniel Wood

Demetrius Harmon is an entertainer and social media influencer. He started out uploading 6-second videos to Vine and has since gained an immense following. Demetrius has branched out to platforms like Youtube, where he has more than 370,000 subscribers and makes videos ranging from “If Dora Was In A Horror Movie” to “Mental Health & Its Importance.” He has even come out with a short film titled “Be Happy” where addresses his battle with depression. To follow up on the film, Demetrius launched a “Be Happy” collection on his clothing brand called “The Golden Life Clothing” featuring slogans like “1-800-BEHAPPY”  and “You Matter.” This collection promotes self-positivity and brings awareness to mental health; he is aiming to let people know that even though at times we might not feel like it, we all do matter.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Demetrius Harmon, in honor of his awesome “You Matter” hoodies that were just released. We discussed his influences and the you matter movement as a whole.

What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you so far as an entertainer?

My grandmom told me she watches my videos whenever she’s depressed. That’s probably the most impactful thing I’ve heard, because for so long I didn’t show my grandmom my content due to how vulgar it was. And the fact she finds it funny and uses it to cheer herself up means so much to me.

What have you been most satisfied with?

I’ve grown to become very happy with how emotional I am. At times it feels like a curse, because the things that hurt, hurt tenfold and it feels like it’ll never end, but the things that feel good, feel so good. To me, being emotional means feeling every emotion to their extremes so if I’m happy, I’m ecstatic and if I’m sad, I’m depressed. It’s hard being emotional as a black man, but I have no care for what another person thinks about what is masculine. I want young boys to grow up watching me and feel like it’s okay to cry and that doesn’t make them any less of a man.

Who would you say are the most influential people in your life and why?

Donald Glover definitely. I discovered him at the perfect time right before I entered high school. I felt like I had to choose one thing in life to be but there were so many things I wanted to do and be. Then I find him and he’s a writer and actor, and an experimenting musician and comedian. It showed me I didn’t have to be one-dimensional!

My parents influence me just because of how hard they work; I’ve watched them break down in tears because of the stresses of life then get right back up and get to it. My loved ones who have passed motivate me: my Great Grandmom Mildred, Aunt Sarah, Uncle Reggie, and Grandpops Larry. I feel like they watch over me and make sure I don’t fail as long as I don’t give up on myself.

Photo by nathaniel wood

How has your upbringing and your being from Detroit shaped you?

I am Detroit; it has shaped me in each and every single way, from the way I talk, interact with people, and how people receive me. Detroit gives you a certain personality. You can tell someone’s from Detroit based on how they carry themselves. I think it’s given me a certain mentality and work ethic, not many people are coming out of Detroit and leading their respective career path.

How did you come up with the “You Matter” brand?

I was writing down reassuring things that I felt I needed to hear. “You Matter” stuck out the most because it encompassed everything I wrote down. Those other things are on the sleeve, your emotions, mental health, existence, happiness; all of those things make up me.

What makes your brand different from others?

Well, it’s a brand; it isn’t just fan merch. Everything is done in-house: I personally order the hoodies, drop them off to the printer, pick them up and ship them out. It’s a lot more personal that way to me. It’s a lot harder but that’s what makes it worthwhile to me. Two years ago I had 600 hoodies to ship out before Christmas and I had a package shortage, so I had to drive to different post offices to get about 20 packages at a time for 2 weeks, going to sleep at 3am because I had been packaging hoodies all day and night. I think about when I used to work at Little Caesars or Kroger and how I was working for someone else’s dream; I don’t want to go back to that.

What does the line “You Matter” mean to you?

It’s my way of sending out a message that people need to hear and feel daily. I made it wanting people to read someone’s hoodie and walk away with that message.

What do you hope to accomplish with this brand?

I want to make the world better. I know that seems farfetched but I want to give people hope with everything I do. The “You Matter” brand is just an extension of who I am as a person and what my other endeavors aim to do. I plan to make videos about depression, showing emotion, and how to help a mentally ill friend to further push that message and agenda.

What kind impact do you want to have on the current generation?

I want to break the division between consumers and their idols. Usually, we put our idols on a larger-than-life pedestal causing us to not view them as humans. I choose to be very transparent about the things I’m going through solely for that reason: It gives the people hope.

What advice would you give to anybody struggling with self-positivity or mental health issues?

Take care of yourself, be patient, and reward yourself. Mental health isn’t something that is curable; it’s an everyday battle and some days it may get the upper hand. What’s important is to realize that will happen and to not beat yourself up about it. Some days you may not get out of bed. Some days you’ll fight against that temptation and other days you’ll fail… it’s okay. Reward yourself for the little things, If you have social anxiety and you make a new friend, buy yourself something or your favorite food; you have to keep yourself motivated by rewarding the baby steps, not just huge leaps. And lastly, take care of yourself first before anything. You matter.