Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Meet Timothy Boykin, a 21-year old published author, activist, TikTok influencer, singer/songwriter, and college student at the University of Missouri who is making a name for himself in and beyond the autism community. Tim’s content focuses on empowering himself and others by engaging in fandoms, speaking on political issues, and educating his followers on his experiences with ASD as well as supporting the experiences of others on the Spectrum.
Timothy Boykin, center.
Hey Tim. Let’s get started with a few icebreakers. Use three words you would use to describe yourself.
TB: Wonderful, Talented, Timid.
Great, now Describe yourself in one sentence.
TB: I am a talented young man who loves superheroes and movies and who is willing to be a good man to everyone.
Perfect. So besides being a popular influencer, writer, and activist, what do you like to do in your spare time? Give us a rundown of your day to day.
TB: In my spare time, I enjoy writing, singing, playing video games, watching movies, and creating on social media. A day in the life is Me waking up and getting myself ready, and then I'll do a random chore around the house and even go out for a little bit. I'll get back home, play some video games, eat or write. But days can be random.
Cool, it seems like you really love music...Who are some of your favorite artists, and what is your favorite musical genre? What have you been listening to lately?
I love all music genres. But my favorites have got to be pop, alternative, and rap. My favorite musicians are Childish Gambino, Brockhampton, Lady Gaga, Frank Ocean, and The Weeknd. What's on my playlist right now is a lot of Childish Gambino, Brockhampton, Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean, and even Harry Styles.
"Being on the autism spectrum is pretty interesting. I get to see the world in a different way, in the same way that one person can see the painting one way and another can see it in another way." -Timothy Boykin
Sweet, we love to hear it. How about role models: are there any famous figures, or even fictional characters, who embody qualities that you resonate with or would like to aspire to?
TB: A few...
Donald Glover: what I admire about him is how he is very talented yet very humble.
Kayla Cromer: the first ever autistic actress hired to play an autistic role in a mainstream TV show. She has even shared some of my posts about her on social media, which I am really happy about.
Captain America: I believe that he is an excellent example of what a great hero is supposed to be like; tough, but also caring, and stands up for what's right.
Timothy Boykin, center.
Wonderful. Now Tim, how did you grow your following on TikTok, becoming the influencer you are today?
TB: I downloaded TikTok just after my birthday in 2018--my friend had it at the time and I decided to try it out. I mostly used it to make funny videos, as a creative outlet. Then in 2019, after a year of using the app, I created a video about my autism and dating, and it got a million views. I began gaining a giant following with a loyal fan base, and I continued using my account for generating both funny, carefree, and fanbase content, as well as educating my following on different aspects of being on the Autism Spectrum. My content was inspired by a lot of positive celebrities like Will Smith and Donald Glover, but as far as other creators on TikTok, my biggest inspiration came from a small creator named Catherine or Cat. Her account @somegirlnamedcat was so funny and energetic. Funny enough, we became friends through the platform.
Click here or on the image above to visit Boykin's TikTok page.
Ausome. So let’s talk about autism: When were you diagnosed, when did you first discover you had it, and what was your reaction to learning you have autism?
TB: I was 4 years old when I was first diagnosed with autism, but then when I reached the 4th grade, the school had re-diagnosed me with Asperger's Syndrome. Asperger’s is part of the Autism Spectrum, but people say it's considered “high functioning.”
I was around 8 to 9 years old when I learned that I had Asperger's. At the time it was a pretty negative experience, because it made me feel that those bullies who called me names were right. So at first, I felt pretty bad about myself.
What really changed it for me was praying, and focusing on my talents of writing and music. It was my knowledge and passion for the different things that I took interest in, and just the love I received from the people who cared about me that really changed my life. What also elevated me was when I wrote and published my first book "Timster's World: So What Makes You So Special?"
Click here to purchase Boykin's book Timster's World: So What Makes You So Special?
How would you describe having autism to a person who is unfamiliar with the Autism Spectrum? What is your experience like as a person who is on the Spectrum?
TB: Being on the autism spectrum is pretty interesting. I get to see the world in a different way, in the same way that one person can see the painting one way and another can see it in another way. Sometimes it can be hard to explain how I’m feeling, but I’ve found that what always helps is just trying to break what I’m feeling down into simplest terms.
Making friends has become very easy, but finding love can be hard sometimes. It can be difficult for me to really understand the other person. But I always do my best to be the best man that I can be. Something I struggle with is trying not to worry about what others think of me, because being black and being an aspie-- people can tend to look at you weird. But I do my best to always be on the right path.
"In 2019, after a year of using the app [TikTok], I created a video about my autism and dating, and it got a million views." - Timothy Boykin
That’s great, Tim. So, in addition to being an advocate for the autism community, are there any other causes or social movements that you support and wish to promote by leveraging your TikTok and Instagram platforms?
TB: Yes. I would like to speak towards the Black Lives Matter Movement, as well as the autism/anti-ableism movement.
Who is a person or group of people in your life who have been a source of guidance and support?
TB: My mom-- she has always stood by my side no matter what, and is always seeking new ways to help me to get to where I want to be.
Also, The Kansas City Boys Choir and its director Ahlee Robinson, for building me up to be a professional and talented young man, as well as all of my friends there whom I share common interests with and who teach me different things about life.
Where do you envision yourself in 10 years?
TB: Well, I would honestly see myself graduating with my bachelor's, and also building up my music career, and even my TikTok career. It’s my dream to also be an actor in movies, maybe even a director someday. I would also love to see myself writing not only for myself, but for other people. Ultimately, I hope to go the Kayla Cromer route, becoming the first black, autistic young man to play an autistic role.
What was your proudest moment, Tim?
TB: May 16, 2016. It was my mom's birthday, and my high school graduation. I was so happy to look up and see her in the crowd... I was able to graduate early by one year, and to also be of the top 10 smartest kids in my class. I remember my mom telling me that when I was first diagnosed with autism, they said that I would never graduate, and that I would never live a normal life, and that I would not be successful. But I ended up proving them wrong.
"I hope to go the Kayla Cromer route, becoming the first black, autistic young man to play an autistic role." -Timothy Boykin
That’s amazing, Tim. So what would you say has been your greatest takeaway from your overall journey and experience with autism? What words of advice would you offer to anyone on the spectrum who is navigating similar obstacles?
TB: I would like to say that what helped me through this journey was always seeing the positive, and seeing the beauty of autism, always knowing you have this power inside of you. I suggest to anyone who is like me to look within and tap into their power and talents.
Thanks Tim! You are incredible and we’re so glad to have you a part of the #AusomeCommunity. If you’d like to reach out to Tim or follow his journey, check him out at…