A few years ago, Kevin Wu aka KevJumba was one of the biggest YouTubers (and one of our partners in our Youtube channel), but then he seemed to all but disappear. So what happened? Among other things, Kevin decided to go back to school to get his degree, but a devastating car accident sent his life in another direction. The Hollywood Reporter’s Rebecca Sun spoke to Kevin about his experiences:
…his plans fell apart in June 2015, when he was struck by a car in L.A. while he was walking, says Wu. The near-fatal crash broke his spine, collapsed his lungs and shattered his spirit. Initially, he was determined to power through it. “I’m still going to go to school after I get out of the hospital,” he told himself then. “I’ve got to get on with my real life.” But his organs were failing and he’d eventually have two major surgeries to address the damage.
There were psychological injuries, too. “I was slowly losing the ability to gauge where I was,” says Wu. “My mood started to swing because every time they found something wrong with my body, I was trying to downplay it.” He eventually was assessed as a hazard to himself and spent 17 days at a behavioral health facility following his monthlong hospitalization. Wu speaks of that time carefully, still grappling with the physical and mental trauma.
The accident left Wu unable to continue school or do anything else but focus on his recovery. He moved back in with this parents in Houston after he was discharged. “Hopefully people will just forget about me and I’ll just be shrouded in mystery or whatever. I’m in too much pain,” he says of his mindset during that period. “I was ready to accept that as my life.”
His father nursed him back from the edge. “I give a lot of credit to my dad because he took me back home and took care of me to the best of his ability,” Wu says, “and when he felt like he couldn’t connect with me on certain spiritual issues, he took me to see his shifu” — the Chinese word for master. In the Wus’ case, their shifu was a Buddhist nun. Though he’s reluctant to put a label on his beliefs, most of Wu’s rare appearances now are affiliated with Buddhist organizations or include references to various Eastern mystics.
Wu resurfaced in March, restoring his YouTube channel to the public setting. The move was timed to coincide with Youth Represent the World, a March 11 show directed by Wu and presented by the Asian-American entertainment organization Kollaboration, the city of Stafford and the Buddha’s Light International Association. Wu’s three-year absence had not diminished his fanbase — a sold-out crowd packed the 1,154-seat Stafford Centre in Houston to watch Wu onstage again, where he performed stand-up along with a non-comedic parody of Kanye West’s “Power,” rapping, “No one man should have internet power.”
“There’s a responsibility that comes with this, and it’s so accessible to young people,” says Wu, who maintains a tentative relationship with social media, privatizing posts shortly after publishing them. “Being young and naive and having fame and fortune and power at a young age can take you away from the right path.”
To read the full article, go to THR: Why YouTube Megastar KevJumba Mysteriously Disappeared
And on a personal post-script, I spoke to Kevin two weeks ago. He was in good spirits and though still not completely recovered from his accident, he was eager to return to acting–specifically enrolling in an acting program to ease back into things. Best of luck to Kevin and I’m sure we’ll be hearing from him again very soon.