When I moved to the US from Ethiopia over a decade ago, my lifestyle changed completely. I moved to Northern Virginia (NOVA), about 15 minutes from Washington DC, and I felt my self-esteem and confidence deprecate quickly. My insecurities were partly due to this sudden change but primarily because of the lack of representation I saw around myself and in the media.
I grew up in a small, white, affluent suburb and it took little time for me to realize that I felt suffocated by my surroundings. Although I had my family, a dissociation took place in me between the person I was and the person I wanted to be. The potential I saw in myself, I realized, was not seen in me by others. For a while, I allowed these perceptions to own me. It would be through a long journey of self discovery which would allow me to gain back the self-love and confidence that I had lost.
When I reached out to Nathan Zed for Disruptive this past spring, it came from a place of paying homage to someone who, by simply being himself, has brought a great deal of peace and and guidance to many who, including myself, fight to overcome this struggle of self-worth.
I first came across Zed through his comedic Twitter account. His tweets were funny, but what truly struck me was that he too was Ethiopian and lived in NOVA, an unlikely combination of identities that we shared. I knew people who knew him, and it shocked me to see someone with whom I had so much in common be so appreciated on such a large scale. As I aged, I watched as Zed discussed in his videos many of the struggles that I too dealt with, including racism, self-love, anxiety, depression and mental health.
Over the past year, Zed made a video called You Actually Are Good Enough. This sparked the start of his t-shirt merchandise business, Good Enough. These shirts sold quickly on an international scale and Zed has just released his second line of shirts this month.
The Disruptive Team had a chance to shoot with and interview with this young entrepreneur this past spring. It was clear that the energy and positivity which Zed shines through his videos and content were equally visible in person. As a young artist, our team is excited to watch him grow and see where he goes.