Josh Richards is changing his ways. If you've opened TikTok lately, you've probably seen Richards' face by now. He's dominating the network, and with over 18 million followers, he's got a large celebrity platform. Which is exactly why Richards wants to use that platform for good. On June 7, Josh Richards' shared an open letter apologizing for letting partying consume him, and promised he'd be changing his tune.
"I’ve Learned. I’m Learning. I Want to Use My Platform to Work Hard for Good," Richards titled his post, shared to Medium, before delving into a lengthy explanation of how he's been feeling. He began by reflecting on a quote that he has tattooed on his wrist: "With power comes responsibility."
"Recently, I took the much-needed time to self-reflect. In the process, I proceeded to look at the words tattooed on my arm," he shared. "This made me realize the gravity of my role in my supporter’s lives — something I feel I have often neglected."
"I was trying to have fun and live by my motto, 'Buddy’s Hard,'" the social media star added. "This is a phrase that to me and my supporters means inclusivity to all and that we are all one big family. It’s why I used the word 'buddy' and made it the focal phrase of my merchandising line. My friends, my fans, and I are all devoted to loyalty, inclusion, working hard, and playing hard. However, I often played too hard and didn’t act in the spirit of my own moral compass."
He continued by apologizing to fans, family, and members of the Sway House, the TikTok collective he's part of, for letting the L.A. partying lifestyle go to his head.
"I would like to apologize to everyone: my supporters, my Sway House family, my team, and my community. I let the fame get to me; I allowed the LA partying lifestyle to consume me; and I lost my way for a bit. I forgot why I was here."
Richards also used the op-ed to reflect on his earliest days in L.A., saying he always intended to be a positive force in the industry.
When I moved to L.A., I hoped to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s why I co-founded TalentX Entertainment, a creator development company, to help my friends monetize their platform and make sure they are being taken care of to the fullest. It also gave me the opportunity to mentor upcoming creators — something I wished I had received when I started. I promised myself to take the role as the “veteran creator” seriously. I started SWAY to help bring my friends closer together. I developed my fanbase to promote positivity, to do good, and to be a role model.
Evidently, Richards is putting his time and money where his mouth is. Just before releasing his open letter, the TikTok superstar launched his new clothing line called Buddy’s Hard, which included the “Buddies Stronger Together” hoodie, for which 100% of the proceeds benefit the NAACP.
But if there's anything to take away from Richards' letter, it's that he's taking accountability for his past actions. "I failed you. I own that. However, I make this promise to you all: I am back up," he wrote.