Being an idol for young people comes with certain responsibilities. There’s a reason why the media is particularly in-tune to controversies created by artists who pander primarily to teenagers. In addition to being full-time content creators, the public perception is that these personalities have a responsibility to provide guidance and leadership to their young and impressionable fans.
In more ways than one, Havana-born singer/songwriter Joel Poe provides an exceptional illustration of this principle. Poe was born in Havana, Cuba. He quickly gained traction as a singer, songwriter, and amatuer model. After spending time in the prestigious Royal Conservatory of Madrid, Poe moved to Indiana University Bloomington, where he received several awards for his artistry and musical talent.
Since then, Joel Poe’s primary mode of expanding his fanbase has involved a heavy social media presence. He was extremely popular on Tumblr several years ago, where he frequently received thousands of “notes” on his GIFs, inspirational words, and songs. The lessening popularity of that particular social media website was hard for Joel, who remembered it fondly on his website. It was on Tumblr that this young artist began to cultivate his fanbase of teenagers, with whom his lyrics and aesthetic resonated the best.
Joel understands more than many artists the importance of setting a good, inspiring example for his younger fans. His biggest activist interests have been in fighting bullying, self-harm, and suicide. This is especially important for the young artist, considering how much the niche culture of Tumblr exposed him to some of the depressive tendencies of many young fans of his music. Years ago, Tumblr was a place where teenagers all over the world were able to have honest conversations about the things that mattered to them– including mental health, bullying, and even self-harm.
Poe’s fans aren’t just teenagers, either. People across multiple demographics listen to his music, which is centered on rock-like musical instruments and poetic verses and lyrics.
Since then, Poe has remained closely connected to his community of fans. And while his music and talent has certainly changed over the years, the artist’s commitment to mental health issues has remained steadfast. His music frequently delves into these problems, and his listeners have reported that his art provides them with a shockingly real look into the same kinds of issues they experience in their own lives. He has even created his own Discord server, “Joel Poe Vampire Academia.” In this intensely close setting, the artist communicates directly with his fan-base, even giving them advice when they express their struggles to the group.
Joel Poe has demonstrated time and time again that he takes his responsibility as an activist very seriously. He has worked hard for the past decade to cultivate an honest and welcoming online pesona, which he uses to speak out on important issues like teen suicide prevention, mental health advocacy, and more.
To be frank, the global music community needs to do a better job of advocating to improve the lives of their fans. Joel Poe shows that this is more than possible.