At Vidcon 2010 this summer, YouTuber Josh Sundquist, a Paralympian, author, motivational speaker and maker of videos, talked about his experiences as an amputee who has found acceptance within the YouTube community, admitting that “YouTube is the only place I’ve ever been where I’m not disabled.”
The YouTube community loves him right back. Sundquist was announced today as YouTube’s On the Rise star for January. This means that thanks to nearly 24,000 votes, his channel will get a place of honor on the YouTube homepage for the next month — which can be a very good thing for those hoping to get seen.
Sundquist’s content definitely deserves recognition, though, as his work on YouTube proves his skills at engaging an audience and sharing his life with them. Sundquist definitely doesn’t shy away from the topic of his missing leg; for proof, there’s the popular video, Amputee Rap, which is pure rap parody right down to the giant clock Sundquist wears around his neck. Sundquist isn’t necessarily the most skilled rapper, but his amateur zest is a big part of what drives this video’s appeal.
However, Amputee Rap is not his most-viewed video of all time — that would be Fast Food Drive Through Pranks, in which Sundquist and friends terrorize local fast food installments — just a bunch of normal teenagers giddy over being able to play with a video camera.
These days, though, Sundquist’s work is a lot more mature (even when it’s just him showing off his abs to the world). While many of his videos are devoted to answering questions about his life and his experiences, he also puts out more produced works — his signature style being illustrated videos with voiceover, such as the ones using advanced-level math to explain certain cultural aspects of Facebook and Twitter.
As a vlogger, Sundquist is open, honest and irreverent; as a creator, Sundquist is technically competent, funny and original. But why do I think he’s inspirational? Easy. Losing a leg is a part of his life, something he discusses freely — but it isn’t his whole life. And as a result, he shines as proof that tragedy isn’t what defines us.
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