‘Bad boy’ TikTok star wants to lead youth on right path
Despite having bleached skin and sporting various tattoos, which cause some to stereotype him as a 'bad boy', TikTok star Smash has been using the platform to deliver motivational sermons directed to youth who are heading down a path of destruction.
The 23-year-old recording artiste, whose given name is Kashekee Linton, said he will also be getting baptised today at a church in his native Portland, after meeting the pastor online.
"I have been looking at what's happening around me and I really see where we needed a change, especially as it relates to the youth. I could see that we just clearly need God to guide us. The youth are lost nowadays and they need guidance. From I started doing this, my phone has been ringing off the hook, and right now I am trying to organise a group with over 300 participants," he said.
Just months ago, he was singing about the 'choppa' lifestyle and sex, but said he opted to not only change his lyrics, but his entire mindset about life. He stated that he is extremely alarmed at the nation's rising crime rate, and added that over the past two years, he has lost at least six loved ones under violent circumstances.
"I think I can really make a positive difference on the youth, as they have been hearing me. I was a hardcore dancehall artiste, but I am changing my style to doing culture and gospel music. A lot of youth learn through music, and we want them to know that they don't have to be singing about gun and all sort of sexual music," he said.
"The man dem, especially, want somebody to talk to. If you should check my inboxes now, it would take me more than a week to go through all those messages. There are persons who have committed crimes and who are in prison, who are reaching out to talk. There are young men who said they were on the verge of taking their own lives [but are] reaching out. I just have to be that change," he added.
In addition to his motivational speeches, Smash uses his platform to also pray for viewers. He implores Jamaicans, especially men, to show more love to each other, as the country lacks that emotion.
"I want them to know that I am no different from them, and if I can change, so can they. I want to get the badman mentality out of them and that, instead, they should pick up a Bible. We are youth, but we still can show and have love. We are lacking love in the system, and not because yuh a man and mi a man [this] means we can't show each other love. Yuh don't have to do certain things just to impress people," he said.
As expected, naysayers criticise his image, but he said he decided to keep his appearance to show the younger generation that their mindset is more important than their physical appearance.
"You cannot judge yourself or let society judge you based on how you look. You can show them that although I look a particular way, my heart is good and I am on the right track. So I am asking the youth to let me be their leader, and let us have Bible studies and other things," Smash said.
As he continues to motivate through his music and online sessions, Smash expressed hope in using the money he makes from music to enter the real estate market.
"I want to buy and sell land, build houses and rent it out...stuff like that," he said.