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'Be yourself openly:' 27-year-old in wheelchair spreading positivity after viral video of his dancing

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Posted at 11:31 AM, Sep 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-21 11:32:05-04

Jermaine Greaves won't let his wheelchair keep him from busting a move.

"Once you own yourself, you don't need to apologize for being you," the 27-year-old Brooklynite told "Good Morning America."

A video featuring Greaves, who has cerebral palsy, showing off his dance skills at the Afropunk music festival in Brooklyn in August has gone viral online and shed light on living with disabilities.

"People with disabilities don't get the chance to truly exist in spaces," Greaves, 27, told "GMA."

Now he wants to use his time in the spotlight as a disability advocate, encouraging others to "be yourself openly without feeling like you have to restrain yourself."

"It's not about going viral, but making an impact," he said.

Although he wasn't trying to get the internet's attention when he posted a clip of him grooving to Missy Elliot in dance circle at Afropunk on his Instagram, Greaves admits he "wasn't surprised" that the video went viral.

"People aren't used to seeing people with disabilities living openly," he added.

His dancing amassed more than 2 million views when it was reposted by The Shade Room on Instagram.

"This genuinely made me feel good," rapper T.I. declared in the comments.

Greaves confessed that that his journey with cerebral palsy has been "up and down."

"Living with a disability, people are always trying to place you in society, so I find often that I have to place myself in different situations that people don't expect me to be in just so I have a place there," he said.

But the positive attention he's received since his video has gone viral has turned over a new leaf for the 27-year-old college student.

"Before this video," he said, "I felt like I wasn't seen, but after this video I realized it's not about being seen, it's about being yourself."

Greaves plans to use his viral moment as an opportunity to go on tour this winter, advocating for disability awareness and "helping others live openly."

"I want to show people through dance and through other mediums," he continued, "that you can be yourself and you don't have to change who you are to live your life."

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Afropunk 2018

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