Akeim Jackson is the host of Akeimthedream, a YouTube channel that covers a wide array of topics, including pop culture and park basketball in Orlando, Florida.
Born in Lorain, Ohio, the twenty-one-year-old Jackson has spent the majority of his life shuffling between Lorain and his current home of Orlando, a popular city in northern Florida that Jackson appreciates because life there moves faster than it does in Lorain.
“There isn’t much to do in Ohio, other than go to Cedar Point,” Jackson says with a laugh, in reference to the 364-acre amusement park situated on a Lake Erie peninsula that has seventeen different rollercoasters for visitors to choose from.
But in Orlando, there are an array of entertainment options, whether you’re a resident of The Sunshine State, or a snowbird looking to escape the winter chill that annually engulfs the northern geography of the United States.
And while many people often think of sandy beaches and frozen margaritas when they imagine the ideal Floridian entertainment experience, it should be mentioned that there is a part of the youth culture in Orlando that has begun to shift their attention, and their money, toward a different source of entertainment, namely the park basketball scene.
According to Jackson, park basketball, which involves people from all over Orlando gathering to play at local courts, has always been a part of the community, but up until the last few years, few from outside the city were aware of just how popular park basketball is.
“Park basketball has always been like what you now see on the internet, especially here in Florida,” Jackson says.
“Plus, Florida is a hotspot for athletes in general. A lot of people develop their talents playing outdoors because it allows them to develop a certain level of grit.”
In turn, Jackson adds that the park basketball scene has molded a number of aspiring athletes who have gone on to achieve future success.
“The park basketball down here makes stars,” he notes.
This is one reason why Orlando residents turn out in droves to watch these much-anticipated basketball games, with Jackson mentioning that when fans come out, the players feed off that energy, creating a truly special atmosphere.
“It’s hard to explain what these events are really like because when we all play, we are not thinking of the crowd, but the energy is real,” says Jackson, who has personally participated in a number of these showcases.
“When you make a good play, you feel good about yourself. It’s just like playing organized basketball and having a big crowd, but in this case the cameras are out so it’s even more fun.”
While Jackson thoroughly enjoys playing and competing against the local competition, his true passion is in cultivating relationships and being a voice not only for park basketball, but for pop culture in general.
That’s why, after a little nudging from a friend who told him that his childhood dream of being a radio host wouldn’t pan out due to that industry’s gradual decline, he started the Akeimthedream podcast and began streaming it on YouTube.
In the seven months since the show’s inception, Jackson has interviewed a variety of public figures and personalities, with his calm and measured approach proving to be engaging for both his audience and his guests.
“I have picked it up and fallen in love with it,” Jackson says of podcasting.
Having already interviewed YouTube sensations like D’Vontay Friga and Nick Briz, along with an OnlyFans model and pro athletes, Jackson is motivated to give his audience unique insights into the lives of popular entertainers.
At the same time, Jackson is also quick to point out that landing interviews with high-profile individuals is a process that often comes as a result of patience, timing, and the desire to fortify a long-term relationship with an interview subject.
“Quite a few of the people I have interviewed already are people that I know personally. Besides that, I reach out to people through their DM‘s or I try to get in touch with their manager and set something up. I don’t pay for my interviews, although there are podcasts that do that,” Jackson explains, before emphasizing the type of standards he has set for his brand.
“To me, my podcast is all about giving exposure to the guest and hearing their story, and that is partly why I don’t believe in paying for interviews. I want something real and genuine.”
It then makes sense that Jackson has landed such notable guests on his show, including the aforementioned D’Vontay Friga, a former D-III college basketball player who in the last year has taken the internet by storm by traveling across the country to local parks and playing basketball in front of his rabid and loyal fans.
“The Friga interview was great. D’Vontay is so down to earth,” Jackson shares.
But again, that interview may have never happened had Jackson not remained steadfast in his pursuit of capturing a few hours of Friga’s time.
For context, it wasn’t until several months after meeting Friga that Jackson was finally able to get the acclaimed YouTuber to sit down for an interview.
“When I initially met Friga, we exchanged contact information, but it was still very hard for me to get the interview with him. Even though he said yes and was down for it every time we either crossed paths or talked over the phone, the fact that he is so busy meant that I had to wait months to finally do the interview,” Jackson recalls.
Moving forward, Jackson says he will continue to employ this same level of determination when it comes to growing his YouTube channel, a strategy that he advises other content creators to adopt.
“You have to be persistent, and if you want something bad enough you might have to be annoying,” Jackson remarks, alluding to tactics he has used in order to lock in interviews.
As far as the immediate future is concerned, Jackson’s goal is to reach a modest 1,000 subscribers on YouTube, at which point he says he will be doing a giveaway to show appreciation for his followers.
But beyond that, Jackson says that his primary focus will be to continue producing quality content and not get dragged into the drama that some YouTubers find themselves embroiled in.
“My long-term goal is to put out the best content I possibly can and not act like a fake person. On YouTube there are a lot of people who will try to make themselves seem like something when they’re really not like that,” Jackson says.
“That’s why I’m going to continue to put out content that is interesting and that I am passionate about. I mean, I’ve only been doing this for seven months and I’m already having good people on the show. That has me excited for what is yet to come.” QS
To learn more about Akeim Jackson and to listen to the Akeimthedream podcast, click here.
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