What a way to make an introduction as the first post on TrulyMalice.
Greetings and Salutations to all of the potential ‘Malefics‘ (fandom name) out there and welcome to TrulyMalice. I realize that I was lacking an official About Me section and why there will be a more professional one in the future, this is what you need to know about me at the current point and time.
My name is Michael Emanuel Smith-Grant, I am 27 years young and I have multiple niche’s spanning from Japanese Animation to South Korean Entertainment and video games (both casually and competitively). I currently do a lot of freelance work and I’ve made my own media company catered towards South Korean Entertainment in Seoulwave Inc, which was founded on October 7th, 2015.
However, before there was a Seoulwave, there were other attempts at companies like the short-lived Godlike Entertainment and the even shorter-lived Bridgesound Entertainment. These were companies with an honest goal but various complications occurred during the process and the growing pains became just pains with no growth. Even Seoulwave has suffered pains with minimal growth however it’s still a promising media company with a bright future.
So why am I talking about these old companies and not why I changed my stage name from ‘Popo’ or why I changed my youtube channel name from ‘MisterPopoTV’? In order to understand why I ditched ‘Popo’, you had to know a little bit about what ‘Popo’ was trying to accomplish at the time.
To put it bluntly, Popo was doing the absolute most. Not only was I trying to do the most, I was trying to do the most too fast and help everyone at the same time. When you have dreams, it is more enjoyable to share them with others. Maybe it’s genetically engineered into my design as a human being but I want to always share my thoughts and ideas. The good ones and the bad ones. What ‘Popo’ did was spread himself too thin and try to be a beacon, a road, a path or in most cases, a stepping stool for others. If this was a movie, I would be the tragic hero that was severely flawed. Maybe it’s something that honest people have to deal with or maybe it’s because I was very gullible. I had a very hard time telling people ‘No’. It’s actually a hard thing when you are used to always being a team player and looking out for others over yourself.
With that said, let us take a step back quickly. Where did ‘Popo’ come from and how did ‘MisterPopoTV’ come about? Back in 2010 while playing Yu-Gi-Oh! The Trading Card Game, a few of my friends and I were roasting (dissing, flaming or the ‘cutting of the ass’ in slang) each other. One of them called me ‘Popo’ and that caught on like wildfire around the community. I didn’t expect it to catch on and I didn’t like it either. I was already dropping out of college around that time before I knew it and it didn’t help that this was becoming a thing, especially a negative one at that. Popo comes from the Japanese manga and anime named Dragon Ball Z with a character called ‘Mr. Popo’, who is inherently black and fat. Appearance wise, this was the point of me being called Popo in the beginning. 2 years later, it never stopped but continued so I figured the best way to make things different was to turn the negative around being called ‘Popo’ into something positive.
Thus it all began. I first started as a Yu-Gi-Oh! YouTuber and started using the name ‘Popo’ around the community and made a name for myself for deck building and my YouTube channel at the time. I eventually left YugiTubing for the K-pop community in 2013. MisterPopoTV was born and I took the ‘Mister’ spelling of ‘Mr.’ from KARA‘s hit song ‘Mister‘ I was told that I was wasting my time but soon enough I developed a following within the K-pop community. Funny enough, when people heard the name Popo and knew of Dragon Ball Z, some people would say, “Oh my god, you really do look like the character! LOL!” It was easy for people to recognize me but it was half for the wrong reasons. While I systematically tried to change a negative into a positive, the ending results were still ‘Popo’ would be forever associated with the Dragon Ball Z character, a black and fat character to mirror my image.
When did I notice this becoming a bigger issue? It was when I started to create those same companies I spoke of earlier. I was exposed to a very dark side of the K-pop industry and one that most fans would never know of but only hear about. From underhanded promoters to those that just wanted to use me because I was black in order to bring in black K-pop fans, the amount of prejudice and blatant racism was ridiculous. Honestly, that has been one of the most dehumanizing things I’ve come across and I will touch on it in a more proper article down the line.
The facts at the end of the day were, I furthered something with good intentions but was hit with so much backlash that it was depressing. I tried to brand away from ‘Popo’ and ‘MisterPopoTV’ multiple times but none seem to stick and eventually I wanted to stop YouTubing altogether. Not just because of the name but because ‘Popo’ and the activities that were trying to be achieved were steep and there were demons that couldn’t be properly conquered. Naturally, my health declined from overworking and trying too hard to do good by others when I haven’t properly done any good for myself.
It was after I came back from South Korea that I realized that I wanted to flip the script and change everything. I needed to take back control of my life. With multiple hardships dealing with Seoulwave and placing my trust in people that didn’t have my best interest, it was time to finally change. Not everyone can deal with change especially when they are used to you being a certain way or thinking in a way that fits their interest solely. For me ‘Popo’ was the building block towards my next step. When I look back, I don’t want to have a legacy that was defined by ‘Popo’, a name that was chosen to make fun of me. All of those evil intentions have contributed towards how I want to do things differently and on my terms. ‘Truly Malice’. ‘Truly’ to remind myself to stay true to myself and ‘Malice’ for the favor of all the bad things I’ve had to endure till this point. There will always be those ready to knock you down with bad intentions aka ‘Malice’.
When I tried to switch names beforehand, it wasn’t natural and I was just trying to change too fast, too quick. My changes have driven people away, both the good and bad. Leaving the name ‘Popo’ behind for me is my turning point. I wanted to take all of the bad and turn it into a positive being true to myself for myself. Thus, Malice, ‘TrulyMalice’ is what I have decided to brand. It’s only been month 5 of 12 and 2017 still has a lot of promise. Today marks the end of Popo but the official beginning of ‘TrulyMalice’.