We continue our focus on Black History Month with a feature on influencers and power couple, Demi and Tom Schweers. As a power house in the content creator space, they kindly delved into their personal experience as an interracial couple, giving us a peek into their lives through a modern lens and era.
Demi, what has been your personal experience (the good, the bad, the ugly) as a woman of color in the creator space? And have you noticed any changes throughout your time?
Demi: As a creator who also is a woman of color, I have experienced a myriad of responses ranging from individuals thanking me for being unapologetically myself and allowing for a safe space to others commenting horrible racial slurs. I would be dishonest if I said we haven’t been targeted and harassed due to my race. I have had people tell me that I be shouldn’t be with my husband, that I should be working in a field picking cotton, and much worse. It's truly awful how cruel people will be behind the safety of a screen. Not only that, but it has negative effects on our accounts. For example, we have had videos removed by TikTok due to hate speech in the comments to the point where I’ve had to remove the comment section or just delete videos. However, on the opposite spectrum Tom and I have cultivated an amazing community who love and support us throughout this journey. I receive heartfelt messages from other women and young girls for allowing myself to be vulnerable on a platform and for having open discussions around difficult topics such as race and interracial relationships. These people and those experiences are the “why” for us to keep going. I want to continue to be myself in this space and encourage other women of color to do the same.
Being in an interracial relationship in 2022, what has that experience been like for you both in your personal lives and day to day? Do you feel as though there is still a segment of society that deems it taboo?
Tom: Absolutely. If we are in a new space at times people do not acknowledge us being a couple. There have been many instances of Demi approaching me, and waitstaff or a cashier, for example, asking Demi to wait in line assuming we wouldn’t be together. We’ve gotten looks of hatred, whispers, pointing in public before.
Demi: We have had people outright say our relationship is a sin and Tom should be with a white woman. It’s hurtful. However, we do not shy away from conversations and open discussions. It something that is essential to our relationship. Tom allows himself to take a step back and listen so he can be an ally in those situations. He truly takes the time to listen, learn, to better understand what my experiences were like growing up, what they are now, and what they are like as a couple. Lastly, we celebrate our life and how beautiful our relationship is and truly that life is love. Regardless of color, religion, disability- love is beautiful in all aspects of our relationship and it should be celebrated.
Being public figures, you're almost defaulted to being role models. How does the weight of this expectation affect you individually and as a couple? Have you ever received any feedback from a couple/individual with a similar situation that really touched you and why?
Demi and Tom: It’s crazy for us to comprehend the platform we have at times and the impact we can have on others. For us we have gotten here by being our authentic selves and by being vulnerable. We have aligned morals and live by the phrase “Be Kind”. And with that we are kind and honest with ourselves at all times. we have been very open on our good days, bad days, and the struggles we go through. By doing this we don’t have a constant pressure to “be okay” and these perfect role models. That just isn’t realistic and isn’t how real life is or how we are as individuals. Our community has been very receptive on that and appreciative of being transparent and vulnerable in our hard times. Being relatable individuals is something the world needs and the messages we get thanking us for being that I overwhelmingly warns our hearts.
What does Black History Month personally mean to you? And who do you look up to from a historical context and why?
Demi and Tom: Black history month is a time of celebration, recognition, and awareness. Although I do struggle with the concept as we should always be in recognition and appreciation of black culture. From a historical context there are many individuals who have paved a way to bring the community where we are today. But I cannot point out just one sole individual as I feel the black community as a whole should be looked up to. With everything that had happened and continues to happen in our society and the resilience a group of officials has had is truly a beautiful thing. When the world around us has continuously failed and set us up for failure we as a whole have continued to overcome, continued to demand respect, continued to share our culture, and continued to persevere. It truly is a beautiful thing.
Tom, what have you personally learned from being in a relationship with Demi that you might have felt that you were unaware of or uninformed about before? And how has it transformed your personal growth?
Tom: I think one thing that I've learned from being in a relationship with Demi is to listen to her when she describes her experiences. Demi has often described situations where someone showed microaggressions in their behavior towards her. In the past, I've given the benefit of the doubt to the offending party. I'd say, "I'm sure they didn't mean it" or "They weren't trying to hurt you." I've learned that whether intentional or not, these behaviors need to be called out and corrected. Also, it is not Demi's job to teach me about these microaggressions. I will continue to develop more empathy and awareness because it is my job to support, honor, and protect her.
If you both could leave our readers with some words of wisdom in regards to diversity and the importance of kindness and understanding, and the significance of knowing and appreciating the history of those that came before us, what would it be?
Demi and Tom: Diversity is beautiful. Without it our world and society would lack luster, lack uniqueness and be bland. We need to understand that without a mixing and appreciation of cultural differences and experiences we wouldn’t have the essence of what makes society so amazing. We wouldn’t have the very things that bring us personal joy. music, fashion, food... We need diversity to be human and those very differences are what brings us together.