CLEVELAND — Meet Zosimo Maximo: A man who uses everything he has to make a change.
"I grew up in a small town two hours south of Cleveland called Cambridge, Ohio," Maximo said. "I was just kind of looking for something to get me out of town. I decided it was going to be fashion, and that brought me to New York City."
After studying fashion design and working at high levels for Gucci and Prada, Zosimo started gracing music video sets as an artist's stylist, but saw a new path in directing. After years on shows for MTV, BET, the Style Network and others, a new opportunity brought him home.
"My wife and I started a fitness and wellness company six years ago from the basement of our house in Shaker. It's called Grooveryde," Maximo said.
But the Maximos soon realized the lack of representation in the health and wellness space.
"My wife is Puerto Rican Black, and I'm Filipino," he said. "After a lot of social unrest in 2020, what came out of that was my wife and I fully committing to creating the first BIPOC streaming tv channel in health and wellness. What we're really trying to do is not only combat the underrepresentation, but also the huge health racial disparities that are devastating black and brown communities."
And for Zosimo, representation goes beyond fitness - in his other role as a filmmaker.
"At major networks I found myself being one of the few Asians in those productions," he recalled.
So when Maximo discovered a new app called Clubhouse, he saw a new venue for visibility.
"The premise of my room is to amplify underrepresented voices, including AAPI which is Asian American Pacific Islander. And within you know two or three weeks, the room was jumping off you know 250 people plus."
Maximo says, as social unrest began to escalate within the Asian community, another cool thing happened.
"Some Asian American actors and filmmakers all came together to lead a fundraiser and we raised over a hundred thousand that week right after the Atlanta shootings for an Asian American justice organization."
For Maximo, this recent activism is only the start of another new chapter in his life.
"There is a stereotype in the Asian community that we are kind of passive and docile and do not speak up, but I think those with a voice and those willing to stand up and speak, should."