Culture | May 22nd, 2024

Capturing His Journey: YuKwon Toney, Rising Media Sensation and Campus Star

By: Nissa Phillip
Capturing His Journey: YuKwon Toney, Rising Media Sensation and Campus Star

“When you give up not only will you never know, but you will never grow” – YuKwon Toney

Rising star YuKwon Toney is a captivating mix of grit, God and good-old-fashioned Southern charm. From moving out at only 12 years old to meeting our favorite celebrities, Toney shares what can happen when you never give up and stay true to yourself. Journey Magazine was able to speak with Toney and hear more about his bittersweet and beautiful journey to becoming a rising media sensation and campus star.

“It all goes back to giving them the news that they can really use,” Toney said.

That phrase is the catchy and timeless tag that Toney uses in his viral video series YT1 Channel 10 News. In this series, he creatively mixes comedy and current events to provide his audience with a mix of entertainment and education. Recently, he reported on a tornado that struck the Tallahassee area. His hilarity in times of hardship served as comic relief for those affected. It also revealed a deeper running theme in Toney’s life that gives his content an infectious boy-next-door energy: the need to find the good in any situation. He goes by the name @ayeitskwon on all platforms.

“Being a content creator is all about allowing people to get their minds off of worries, work stressors, and everything else,” Toney said, “I create a space so that they can just have a laugh, even if only for a moment.”


YuKwon Growing Up

Toney shared that he is originally from Columbus, Georgia, but moved to Pittsville, Alabama, at a young age before finally moving to Tampa.

“After witnessing a lot in my childhood, I finally made up in my mind that I wanted better for me and my family.  I visited my aunt for the summer and loved it! After that summer visit, I asked my aunt if I could come stay for a school year,” said Toney.

“I ended up moving to Tampa, Florida all by myself at the age of 12.”





Picture of YuKwon at 12.





During his childhood years, YuKwon demonstrated the independence and hardworking nature that have propelled him to the heights he is able to reach today. He recalls how he saved money to travel to Atlanta and attend casting and modeling calls. He was supposed to audition for America’s Got Talent but was unable to save enough money. Clearly, nothing can stop Toney because he continued searching for opportunities, something he learned from the women in his life.

“I’ve always appreciated my aunt, grandma, and mom pouring into me,” said Toney.  “Seeing what they’ve been through and how they were able to make it out, all while keeping a smile on their face and being supportive, pushed me to be the strong-minded, energetic and outgoing person that I am today.”


Viral Victories

His bold and bright energy has allowed him to enter rooms many of us dream of, such as meeting award-winning actor Michael B. Jordan and renowned streamer Kai Cenat.

“I was especially star-struck when I met Kai Cenat. There are few black male content creators on his level. ” Toney said.

During a trip to Atlanta and a chaotic chain of events that YuKwon describes as “The Lord’s work,” Toney was able to meet Kai Cenat. YuKwon handed him a note and asked Cenat for advice from one creator to the next.

“He stood up and talked to me for about 6-7 minutes and it’s something I’ll never forget because he could have taken the letter and never reached out to me or never read it. Time is precious, and time is money, so I will always cherish that moment and be thankful.” Said Toney.





Picture of YuKwon and Kai Cent via his Instagram @ayeitskwon.




“[Kai Cenat] is definitely one of my dream collaborations,” Toney said.

On our side of the screen, Toney’s star power is infectious and undeniable, but he admits that he was not aware of the impact he was making until 2019. That year he was invited to Playlist Live, an event for creators and their fans to connect.

“I knew I was doing something right when a group of girls began chasing me, and then more people joined and started chasing me. That was mind-blowing.”

That same year, YuKwon transitioned from making lip-syncing videos on to creating relatable skits on TikTok. He began with “Kwonique” skits that (although he admits they are cringe-worthy today) allowed him to secure different brand deals and solidify his social media presence. This hard work paid off when he went on his first major brand trip. Wendy’s flew Toney and his aunt out to the CIAA Tournament alongside their celebrity guest, Lance Gross.

“I can’t believe that I did not get a picture with him!” YuKwon said.

Campus Life and His Future Career

Over time, Toney has been able to hold a variety of roles on campus, each teaching him something new that he takes into his content creation. He is proud that he was able to use his platform as a Freshman Senator and then as Chief Diversity Officer to push out initiatives that advocated for students on FAMU’s campus. He also held the esteemed title of King of Orange and Green. He attributes much of what he learned at that time to his mentor, the late Andre Green.

“Bless Andre Green. He really helped groom me into who I am today and taught me to care more about my appearance,” Toney said. “He definitely lifted me up, taught me different ways to go about showing up and presenting myself as a black king.”

YuKwon can balance all of these titles and bounce between roles seamlessly. In doing so, it is important to have a clear vision of how you will measure your success. For Toney, his success is rooted in his ability to persevere and praise God.

“Success for me is doing things even when you’re facing the fear of losing. So that instead of wondering what could have been or should have been, you can say that’s not what God had for me and move on,” said Toney.

He gracefully moves forward and masterfully navigates new spaces that he enters as he grows his platform. However, humility does not escape him, and he showcases an unapologetic ability to be himself. “Above all, you can expect YuKwon to still be YuKwon,” he said.

In the future, he hopes to learn new skills and build his reputation as a media personality. This means hosting, acting and modeling, all while using his voice to provide a safe space for viewers.

YuKwon left readers with one final statement he wishes that everyone would take with them, “when life starts life-ing, it’s okay because God is going to start God-ing.”

Toney has already shown his radiant star power both on campus and through his media presence. We cannot wait to see what the future has in store for him.