In 2021, Jidon Adams, famously known as JiDion, was on his way back to his hotel room at DreamCon, an anime and gaming convention held in Arlington, Texas, when he ran into Desmond Johnson, a member of RDC World , a content creation group, in the elevator. Desmond is also one of the masterminds behind the event, and JiDion, who is a big fan of the group’s work, praised them for the platform they built through social media and YouTube, which led to this convention. Although appreciative, Desmond had no idea who he was talking to, which was the common theme for JiDion that weekend at the convention. Despite having a solid following of 900,000 YouTube subscribers, JiDion didn’t have the five million he has now and he wasn’t widely-recognized yet by his peers.
The elevator stopped on JiDion’s floor and the door opened. As JiDion walked out, he turned back to Desmond, swiftly looked him straight in the eyes and gave him a 10-word message.
“I promise you, you’re all going to know my name,” JiDion told Desmond.
That moment in 2021 lit a fire under him. JiDion told himself it would be the last time his peers didn’t recognize him. And it would be the last time he was referred to as a “friend of Kai,” when accessing certain events—Kai Cenat is his actual friend who was a bigger YouTube star at the time. Fast forward to 2022 and JiDion is a superstar. If you’re active online, and a sports fan, it’s hard to escape JiDion. He’s created viral moments on all social media platforms and brings in around 4.2 million views per video on his YouTube by doing unorthodox things like getting a haircut while sitting courtside at a Timberwolves game, and more recently at the US Open, or impersonating a college basketball scout.
With recognition from Karl-Anthony Towns, Scottie Barnes, Ben Simmons, and other NBA stars in addition to popular figures like Mark Cuban and Druski, JiDion has established himself as one of the biggest personalities on the internet. The days of people not knowing who he is are over. He can no longer walk the streets anymore without being stopped for a picture or noticed. And his popularity has gone well beyond the United States. He’s a certified global star.
“I wanted to have a meet up (in the UK) and I was thinking maybe a max 75 people would come out,” JiDion said. “Man, almost four or 500 people showed up, roaring my name. And it was just like, wow, I’m over here, 5,000 miles away from home, and still, getting the most love I’ve ever seen in my life. It almost brought me to tears. It was a moment where it’s just like, wow, I did make it.”
Even with his newfound celebrity status, JiDion doesn’t bask in his glory because the road to stardom was a humbling experience. Growing up in Houston, Texas, JiDion wasn’t always loved as much as he is now. In fact, as a youngin’ in school he struggled to make friends and found himself trying to fit in with groups that didn’t align with his character.
“I wasn’t really considered one of the popular kids. You see the popular kids go to the beach houses and the parties and everything. And it’s like you get envious of that, and so I wanted to be like that,” JiDion said. “I’m not a partier. I’m just the guy that likes anime, likes reading books, and likes making funny videos, that’s just who I was. And it took me a while to figure it out.”
When JiDion finally unlocked his identity and accepted who he was, everything fell into place. He began to show his true character a lot more in public environments. As you could imagine he was the class clown in school. His main goal each day was to make somebody laugh regardless of what he was going through.
“There would be some days where I would just randomly wear a suit to school,” JiDion says. “A big thing about me growing up was I always loved to make other people laugh. Even if I was having a bad day, if I can make someone else’s day better, that made me feel better.”
That same comedic mindset mimics the content that’s turned JiDion into the internet force he is today. His rise to stardom on YouTube began with gaming videos of him comically playing Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. It elevated from that to commentary and reactionary videos to viral videos and current events and then ultimately reaching his final stage of pranks. From the pranks to his commentary, JiDion’s No. 1 goal is to put a smile on someone’s face.
Off the bat, JiDion built an impressive community on YouTube, gaining over 244,000 subscribers from the beginning of 2019 to April of 2020. But even with his early success on YouTube, at one point he was ready to give it all up and quit because after building a formidable following, JiDion struggled to maintain and grow that audience. Therefore, he strongly considered deleting his YouTube account and moving on to other things in his life.
“It was really discouraging having 244,000 subscribers only getting 4,000 views,” JiDion says. “And then at this point I have 244,000 subs and I’m working at Lowe’s. All my classmates were like ‘Yo, I thought you would be in Hollywood right now.’ And it was a really discouraging thing and I was about to stop.”
He began to feel even more defeated as some of his subscribers would see him working at Lowe’s and assume he was recording a video for his YouTube channel. “Are you doing a prank right now? Why are you working at Lowe’s?” they would ask. They didn’t think that one of their favorite content creators would be working at Lowe’s.
JiDion ended up quitting the job and pivoting to Uber Eats, which gave him more time to film and perfect his craft. He would film during the day and at night, work deliver Uber Eats orders for 7-8 hours. But while re-evaluating his strategy, JiDion quickly realized he was making content to go viral and not content that he enjoys. After praying over it and receiving feedback from his inner circle, JiDion decided to continue his content creation on YouTube and with the evolution of TikTok’s algorithm, his content started to pick up steam once again.
“Literally the first (YouTube) video back, I posted a clip on TikTok of it and that clip got 6.9 million views and two million likes,” JiDion says. “ I had been losing [YouTube] subscribers for a total of six months, and then with that one video alone, I shot up 30K. And really since then I just never stopped.”
We sat down with JiDion to discuss his rise to stardom, crossing the line with his content, his relationships with NBA players, and more.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Where did Demarcus Cousins III come from? Why do you call yourself that?
That’s just my grandpa, man. His name is Demarcus Cousins I, and my dad was Demarcus Cousins II, now I’m Demarcus Cousins III. It’s not my fault that they’re not switching up the name. I might change it up and call my son Desmond or something, just to switch it up a little bit.
But why were you a big Demarcus Cousins fan growing up?
Man, Boogie’s the GOAT. I love Boogie. I love what he brings. And I love how he shows me love. There’s a lot of people, you use their name, it’s kind of like, ah, “Who does this dude think he is?” But he shows me so much love, man, and I want to show him so much love too. And, Complex is the first to hear about this, but we’re going to make Boogie an All Star this year, man, we’re going to make him an all star. I promise you that.
Do you guys have a relationship now? Do you guys talk? I saw he posted you on his Instagram so he knows about you.
Yeah man, bro, he be showing me love. When I posted some stuff on my stories, he be like, “Yo twin. Keep up the great work.” Or if I see him, whatever he’s up to, I’d be showing him love back man. And we have to get a meetup going soon. I think the people want it.
You’ve grown big within the NBA community. I saw you with Ben Simmons. What was up with the Ben Simmons photo?
Man, bro, he just fun for my videos and I love Ben Simmons, especially playing with him on 2K. But he just showed me so much love and I was just so happy to be in Las Vegas. We just chopped it up. And then shout out to my boy KAT, I love Karl. He shows me so much love too. He always just checks up on me, seeing how I’m doing. I check up on him. The NBA is like my second home and I love the NBA fan base. And I just love how the NBA shows me so much love. I hope to work with them more in the future because it’s great. And Mark Cuban, Mark has even tuned in and shout out to his son, Jake. Oh man, it’s just amazing.
Well, how did the relationship with KAT come about? Because I mean he’s brought you out a couple times. Well, you went to the Houston game and that didn’t work out, but, obviously, you guys met later in Minnesota.
Well, we actually met three times in Minnesota, man. Sometimes I just be popping up there just to hang out with him. But it’s like that’s the beauty of the internet, bro, just social media streaming. We’re so far away, but with the internet it brings us all together. And that’s it man, just two people who admire each other’s work. I admire what he does on the court, and he admires what I do on the camera. And so we just have mutual respect for each other in our fields.
Are there any other NBA players, or even athletes, in general, that have reached out to you privately?
Oh no, yeah, there’s a lot, man. There’s a lot that be showing me love and I’d be showing them love too, like Scottie Barnes and a lot of other athletes. But I only like to make it public if it feels right, you know what I mean? I don’t want to just post everything on my story, like oh look who hit me. I mean, some things are just meant for my eyes and my eyes only. Or if we do run into each other, maybe we can flick up or maybe get a video in. But yeah man, the NBA community be showing me so much love.
Why did you get a haircut during an NBA game? How did you develop that idea in your head?
So man, the first one I did was I got a haircut in a college lecture. So one of my friends, Ricky, he got a haircut in the library. I was like damn, that’s funny. I was like, what about doing it in a college lecture? So I did it in a college lecture. Everybody enjoyed it. And I was like, okay. And I usually don’t do part twos, but I was with my barber, Mr. Fades. And we were just discussing it, like, man, what are the ways we could top it, maybe get a haircut in an airplane? We were just talking and I think he said, “What if we got a haircut at a basketball game?” And I was just like, “What if we got a haircut courtside of a basketball game?” So we weren’t sure if the logistics of it were going to be right, because sneaking some clippers in is pretty hard.
How did you sneak the clippers in?
That’s a secret for me and myself only.
Probably the biggest NBA clip of the year. But did you guys get any harsh feedback from Minnesota and their people, like their team and the league?
Ah, no man, Minnesota’s amazing, bro. I love Minnesota. I don’t even claim Houston no more, I’m Minnesota all day. All the fans love me. Even the announcers, they love me. The stadium, they love me. And then the NBA was even showing love. They had posted it on the official NBA account, which was just crazy. So like everybody but the Rockets are Ws. The Rockets are just walking Ls, that’s why their record reflects that.
So we’ve seen your relationship with Logan Paul. Now I got to ask you, will we ever see you in the boxing ring?
You guys will see me in the boxing ring. I feel like that’s something I have to do. Because I don’t have beef with anybody, but I want to galvanize my fans, and I want all the pressure on me. I feel like pressure makes diamonds and I feel like I’m best under pressure. So I want to get in the boxing ring and show out. People are going to spend their hard-earned money to watch me win, I’m not going to let them down.
Are you going to get a professional trainer? Training for boxing is tough.
Oh yeah, man. It’s going to be tough, but I’m going to have to put the YouTube away and fully focus because you can’t play with boxing. It’s one of those things, you can’t have one foot in, one foot out. You’ve got to deep dive in it. And, luckily, I got great mentors like KSI [Olajide Olayinka Williams] and Logan Paul that are successful in the boxing scene. And I can lean on them and ask them for tips. And they be helping me out all the time, showing me love, showing me gyms. Shout out to the Prime family. Drink Prime, it’s the best drink on the market. But God, man, when I get in there, you’re going to see an animal.
Druski gave you some love in your video. Do you have any creators that you take inspiration from? But first talk about Druski and what that interaction meant to you?
Druski is just hilarious. And I feel like he, it’s not even the fact that he’s funny, but I feel like he broke a different barrier. We’ve never really seen someone come from just doing little skits on Twitter and Instagram to now being a full on celebrity, touring with the biggest rappers in the world, just being a full on comedian. I feel like he just upped the level for social media talents out there. And I told him that, behind the scenes, I was telling him what he’s doing for us is really putting us on the map because he’s just paving a path that hasn’t been paved before. So I was giving him his due flowers because he deserves it.
Do you take any inspiration from any of people like Druski or even any comedians or any internet people?
Yeah, I feel like I take inspiration from a lot of people. Because to be in the social media game you have to be on social media and you have to see what everybody’s talking about, who everybody’s watching. But definitely coming up it was my man KSI, bro. He inspired me to really be myself and go all at it. And there’s not really that many big Black creators, so him being one of the biggest, it’s just awe inspiring. So now having the ability to work with him and get to see how his mind works. And he’s a dog, bro, there’s nobody like him. So definitely he was a huge inspiration, but there’s so so many more. Even Kai, Kai’s a huge inspiration for me. I don’t even look at him as another content creator, I look at him as a brother. That’s really my brother and I love him and he really inspires me to just be my best.
Initially, I don’t feel like there were a lot of Black creators on YouTube in general, but I feel like you’re part of this wave that’s kind of paving the way. Do you feel you’ve kind of built this wave and paved the wave for the next generation of Black creators to come up and see that they have a spot in this industry?
I do, man. When I really first started doing this, because the paradigm for Black creators was just to do reaction videos or regular blogs or gaming videos, or rapping on YouTube. But I just wanted to show if that’s what you do, do it and kill at it. But I wanted to show the youngsters, especially in the Black community, growing up, that if you have a goofy side to you don’t feel like you have to act tough or hood. You could show that goofy side and you could be successful at it. I hear feedback from a lot of Black creators that are coming up, like Kanel Joseph, that tell me I really helped inspire them. And I’m just waiting for the day that someone passes me up. And then he just says one day, yo, JiDion, you inspire me. That’ll just be an amazing experience. And it’s coming soon, and I can’t wait.
Even to hear people say, they look up to you. I mean you’re young. It’s not like you’re old.
I know the bald head makes you think I’m older, but I’m only 21.
So what is that even like, being so young and knowing you have so much time to grow and build this thing?
That’s the thing, man. I don’t know if I got that much time. So I feel like that’s why I have a sense of urgency when I do what I do, because you’re not promised how many days you have on this earth. The most high, you never know when he’s going to call you home. So I just want to try to live every day to the fullest and to the maximum potential as possible. So that way when I do rest my eyes, I don’t have any regrets.
You’ve been talking about it a little bit but even your faith, how has your faith been through this process of becoming a worldwide known celebrity?
Man, I feel like my faith is what keeps me grounded. I feel like, especially when you get to this position, that’s when it’s easy to let the glitz and glamor get to you and change you as a person. But just having the word by my side, I feel like really keeps me down to earth. And having a great support system in my parents and my friends and my employees, just everybody around me. I feel like I have the best team, period, in the entertainment industry. And I feel like that’s why I have the success that I have is because it’s not just me.
People might have their misconceptions of you based off your Tube. What do you want to say to people that just think you’re a troublemaker?
Man, that’s what everybody sees. You just see the thumbnail title. You think I’m an asshole or a troublemaker. But I’m just a kid that likes to have fun, man. Nothing I do is ever malicious or with ill intent. It’s just a kid having fun. And I feel like I really promote that. And I feel when people really give me a chance and view that, they see it. I’ve had so many people be like I didn’t like you at first, but then they watch more of the videos and then they’re like, I finally got it though. And they see, I try to be the best person, or as good of a person I can possibly be.
Do you ever think you’ve crossed the line personally? Or do you know when you’re about to cross the line?
Yeah, nah, definitely. I’ve definitely crossed the line, especially with Pokimane Twitch situation. I’ve crossed the line a lot of times. But I feel like that’s the thing about being human. I’m not a walking PR machine, I’m not going to try to say the best thing all the time. But also what I’m not going to do is, when I am wrong, I’m going to admit it. And I’m going to admit it on camera and take responsibility. So I feel like that’s why I have as much respect as I do in this industry from not only my peers, but from my viewers as well.
And even with that Pokimane incident, do you feel like you’ve changed your approach since that or changed anything you’ve done just with that in mind?
Definitely. And it’s not a thing of like, oh man, I don’t want to get in trouble. Or I don’t want to get canceled. It’s not even that. It’s just, I don’t want to put an image of something that I’m not out on the internet. So it made me more suave with my words and more precise on how I talk. And it’s not out of fear. It’s more like I have an image to uphold because there’s a lot of people looking up to me. And I let them down that time, and I don’t want to let them down again. So it’s more of a place of respect. It’s like, you say you’ll do better. And I said I’m going to do better, and I’m going to live by that.
Back to the young point, the fact that you’re so young, where do you see yourself going from here? Do you want to be on TV? Do you want to take the Druski route now, full blown out there in the world?
At the end of the day, I know I’m a YouTuber and I’m always going to be a YouTuber. I’m making a couple cameos, maybe in a Marvel movie or some TV shows. I’ll definitely do that, I think that’ll be fun. But at the end of the day, I know what I am, and I’m not using YouTube as a branching point to get to something else. YouTube’s what I want to do and where I always want to be. So YouTube’s always going to be the primary thing, and then what other ventures open up from it, I’m going to take full advantage of it.
What can we expect from you next, in the next year or so? I know you’ve hinted at some big projects online. What can we expect to see?
Just know that the levels are going to be upped and the next generation’s going to have some topping to do. But, well, I’m just trying to up the levels for the next generation, man. And I’m not trying to have the most subscribers or have the most followers on IG, but what I am is just trying to end up with GOAT status, so I just got to leave a mark. So just know, especially the stuff that’s coming towards the end of this year, it’s about to go down.