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RIP “Ethan Is Supreme” (AKA Ethan Peters) – Where Were this Gifted Young Man’s Life Coaches and Mentors When he Needed them Most?

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Q. Lewis, I read that someone named Ethan Is Supreme (AKA Ethan Peters) had died of a drug overdose. Who was he and why is he important?

A. One of the major trending stories in the media this morning was the death of Ethan Peters (c. 2003- September 5, 2020).  Colloquially known as Ethan Is Supreme, Peter was an American beauty blogger, makeup artist, and a popular social media personality. He generated a huge following on social networking sites dedicated to beauty and lifestyle including Instagram and YouTube where he posted makeup tutorials and reviews. Peters was the founder of the clothing line, Hellboy. What caught my eye as I read the report was that Ethan Peters was only 17 years old. This young man created a powerful and effective social media strategy that had never developed an effective strategy for living his life.

As we begin this exploration I want to share a beautiful, and poignant song about the price of fame by the great Janice Ian. Think of Curt Cobain and this young man Ethan Peters as you listen to the lyrics.

 

 

 

 

At 17 most of us were just children slowly crashing, sliding, crawling, and feeling our way into adulthood. We were exploring, testing, and taking risks. Some of us don’t make it. Ethan Peters didn’t make it. His Wikipedia page said nothing of his confusion at 17 years of age. Who are any of us at 17?

 

My question is, where were his mentors, his guide, and his life coaches?

 

I’m not going to blame his parents. I feel deeply for them and their loss. I know that they felt they were doing their best. A parent can’t know what their child is doing all the time. Clearly they supported his extraordinariness. They allowed a creative, flamboyant, loveable young man to do what he wanted and needed to do. Still, he was 17 years old and needed something that he did not get from family or friends. Maybe he couldn’t get it from his family or wouldn’t let them in.  I can’t say what he needed – tough love, forced rehab, a banishment from social media. I can’t say. Clearly he needed something. I know this for only one reason. He is dead.

 

 

 

He must have known some adults besides his parents? How did adults let him fall through the cracks?  Why didn’t they sit him down with a bit of compassion and tough love?

 

 

I can only use my own youth as a reference point. I was lonely, confused, and troubled. My mother didn’t really know what to do with or about me. At one point my behavior got so bad that she threatened to make me a “ward of the state”.

It seems that I turned out OK. Looking back I can say there are two things my mother did in raising me that I remember.

  1. I had to be in by 9:00 pm. No hanging out with friends after 9:00. No unsupervised parties. It might make me lonely, it might make me a loner, other kids might think I was a loser, but that was the rule. My mother’s philosophy on this was basic. Kids will be kids, and that means some bad choices. In her mind, adult supervision was the solution. I could stay out late for organized and supervised events, however, she knew, that if I made bad choices there would likely be a responsible adult to serve as a sort of safety net. I complained, heed and hawed. She was rigid on this. The few times I decided to test her rule there were fair but strong consequences. I got the point and was in by 9:00 pm.
  2. At least twice a month she dragged me (and I felt dragged) to some artistic or cultural event. I could choose what I wanted to do but there was no negotiation about doing something. Usually what she dragged me to was an Opera, a play, a lecture, or some museum. If I misbehaved or acted out, she ignored it until we got to the event. Then, just before we were to enter she dragged me back home, as a lesson on social intelligence before the word existed. She didn’t yell, she never hit me, but I learned about boundaries, social intelligence, and respect for others. I also developed an appreciation of a wide range of ideas, subjects, lifestyles, and cultures. I make my living today coaching people on these very things.

 

I was coached and mentored all through my confused youth and exploratory adulthood. I always had a Yoda, or an Obi-Wan Kenobi, some mentor to guide me and keep me out of trouble. It might be a teacher, a guidance counselor, or even an old porter who I hung out with while he mopped floors. Even if I was intent on getting in trouble there was a support system of adults who could force me to behave myself. After all, I was only 17 years old. Where was Ethan Is Supreme’s Yoda, or Obi-Wan Kenobi?  He was a 17 year old with addiction issues. Who was there to be more than just a friend someone to help him navigate the world while he was becoming a social media celebrity? Social media marketing can produce incredible results even for a young tween. Ethan sold one of his social networking sites for $25,000 before he entered high school.

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s look at Ethan Is Supreme’s short life.

He began using social media in the 7th or 8th grade.

He also began using makeup at a young age and by the summer of 2017, he had amassed a following of 100,000 people. Peters had to leave his private Christian school because his sexuality and social media activity “violated their moral conduct code.”  While he was not kicked out of the school, the administration implied that he was not welcome, despite receiving support from fellow students. Peters began online school and opened the clothing line, Hellboy. As of September 2020, Peters had 139,000 YouTube subscribers and half a million Instagram followers.

This is what Wikipedia had to say about his “Personal life”.

Peters was from Huntsville, Texas. His parents were property investors. He was gay. Peters advocated against racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. He posted about his experience being bullied at a young age. Peters was close friends with influencer, Ava Louise. Peters struggled with drug addiction, the likely cause of his death in his home on September 5, 2020.

 

So that’s it? What I want to know was what were his dreams, his fears, his inner life, his personal struggles. I didn’t even know this boy/man. I wished I did, so I could hug, him, give him my phone number and ask him to call me if he needed a real friend and mentor.

I’ve gone on long enough about this beautiful, sad, addicted, lonely, and now deceased celebrity in the world of social media.

If you are a young person who feels lost, and aimless I hope you will reach out to some caring, safe, and wise adult mentor to teach you what you need to know to prosper and survive in the game of life.

If you are an adult with some street smarts, integrity, and generosity, I hope you will seek out a young person who seems lost, and aimless. I hope you will reach out to them as a caring, safe, and wise adult mentor to teach them what they need to know to prosper and survive in the game of life.

Here is the BBC article on his death:

https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-54055045

Thanks for reading and sharing this blog with your social network,

                                                                                            Lewis

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