On YouTube, he’s ‘Moving in with America.’ And in Hawaii, he got more than he bargained for

Markian Benhamou is a Los Angeles-based social media star.
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 4:23 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 26, 2022 at 5:32 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Markian Benhamou is a Los Angeles-based social media star.

The content creator is crisscrossing the country making videos for his YouTube channel.

“My goal is to live with 10 families around the U.S. to learn what it means to be American,” he said.

The 24-year-old calls his campaign “Moving in With America.” He’s done five videos so far.

But his trip to Hawaii flipped the script.

“I went to learn about American culture, and instead I learned about Hawaiian culture. That was really insightful because I really had no context about Hawaii’s history and about how people felt,” he said.

Not that long ago, Benhamou lived for three days with a local family – Hawaiiverse podcast host Kamaka Dias and his Big Island ‘ohana.

“I’m Native Hawaiian,” Dias said. “I wanted to tell our story from us, not from somebody else’s perspective of us.”

It wasn’t just about introducing Benhamou to local grindz. Dias made sure Benhamou learned about Hawaiian culture, the true meaning of aloha, and America’s overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom.

Benhamou heard some comments that surprised him like:

“I would consider myself so many things before American. That’s the thing.”

“I had grandparents that were banned from speaking Hawaiian.”

“We’re all struggling. We’re getting booted out of here.”

“The big one was, ‘We are not American.’ Benhamou said. “Whenever I asked people, ‘Would you consider yourself American?’ They said, ‘No, we’re Hawaiian.’”

The Hawaii video is now up on Benhamou’s YouTube channel, alongside those of his stays with Cuban, Jewish, Black American and Native American Families.

“I love that he uses his platform for good and gives other people a voice with that platform,” Dias said.

“What I really always lead with is an open mind and an open heart,” Benhamou added.

“I’m here to follow the lead. I’m here not to impose any of my ideas. I’m just here to learn.”

He hopes his glimpse into the 50th state educates his 15 million followers.