As social media platforms began to unfold, the rapid increase of mainstream music has been more recognizable with a variety of musical artists trying to be someone on the internet. The society we are a part of today judges people through stereotypes. Thus, it is not uncommon for people to picture a person with a gold chain when asked to describe a rapper. However, the liberal age that we live in is able to introduce diversity in the rap business. With the emergence of Daniel White (also known as Danny Phantom), music lovers now have a new artist to inspire from.
Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder that inflicts involuntary movements, such as tics. Being diagnosed at eight years old, Daniel’s constant, non-stopping motor tics have been a burden he had to carry for his entire childhood. Certain factors, such as stress and social anxiety, trigger the symptoms that he shows. He would start to roll his eyes, make different facial expressions, and hum sounds, which attracted the attention of many people. He was from the north of Boston in Massachusetts and went to the Sewell-Anderson School as an elementary student. Then, he transferred to the Breed Middle School. During those years as an innocent child, he “got bullied tremendously” and ended up moving to Eastland where he did not know a single person there. However, he got kicked out because he had a lot of issues with the students there and moved back to Westwood. A turning point in his life appeared when he was in high school. The kids that he knew from before grew up and “realized how mean they were” because of their understanding of Tourette Syndrome. Their mindfulness during high school allowed Daniel to have a good time, instead of facing the incessant harassment from others and living in a somber atmosphere.
After graduating high school, he worked at a kitchen job where he received a lot of customer complaints about rolling his eyes. Sometimes, the customers apologized, but some accused him of lying. In 2015, he went to Job Corps in Maine and started rapping with a lot of people. It became the passion that urged him to start writing raps in his dorm room and performing in front of people. He even won two talent shows that drove him into the rap business. However, not every dream can be easily achieved. A few months ago, he almost deleted all his music. By comparing himself to other rappers, it made him feel as if he was not talented enough to be one because of his tics. Now with a bigger fan base, he is holding himself accountable to be strong and keep on inspiring people for a greater good.
Having a tik tok rap video that reached 800k views about his Tourettes, Daniel established a platform that helped more people to be more aware of this neurological disease in order to have fewer people face social issues. “Ignorance can be dangerous”, said Daniel. When someone is showing the tics, people’s immediate reaction is to point and laugh at the person, which was the hardest thing Daniel had to deal with. His ultimate goal is to create an impact by having a platform that is accessible to everyone where he can promote his ethical idea of not looking from one perspective. Without the thought of making a single cent, he tried to collaborate with as many people who were inspired by him as possible. His genuine appreciation of his fans separates him from other public figures who merely want fame and money. Although Tourette Syndrome was a huge discouragement for him, he overcame the fear of humiliation through the help of his friends and made him what he is today. In this unheeding world, we desperately need more inspirational people like Daniel to open everyone’s eyes.
By Patrick Ho