Aloha, I’m Joe Kernan and this is Uncle Joe’s Waikiki, the real Waikiki.
That’s the tagline: The Real Waikiki. Because there’s more to Waikiki than what you see in Hawaii Five-O or tourism videos.
I’ve spent years here in Waikiki. I’ve been homeless for much of that time. Now that I’ve moved into a place of my own, I feel compelled to shine a light on Waikiki — the good and the bad.
I’ve taken on a mission guided by three fundamental principles: to entertain, to educate, and to inspire. My goal is to bring you the genuine essence of Waikiki its rich culture, its diverse communities, and the often overlooked stories that deserve to be heard.
Beyond entertainment, education is at the core of what I do. I’m a former special education teacher after all; it’s in my veins. I want to offer insights into the challenges and triumphs of Waikiki, its residents and workers, visitors and people of the street. I want to provide a deeper understanding of the issues shaping the unique ecosystem that is Waikiki. Most of all, I aspire to inspire you. I invite you to become a part of our community, one that seeks solutions to the issues impacting Waikiki and beyond. By sharing stories, we can forge connections, cultivate empathy, find common ground and change Waikiki and the world for the better.
Here are some of the things you can expect to see on Uncle Joe’s Waikiki: Music and Performances by street performers; Exploration and adventures through the streets of Waikiki; insights on the issues surrounding crime and homelessness; deep dives into local culture and history and importantly, examination of social and political issues affecting Waikiki. I hope to encourage thoughtful reflection and discussion among viewers and then inspire them (you) to take meaningful action and be agents of positive change.
Ultimately, I hope we can build a community of active members, fostering connections and shared experiences. I believe that together, we can make a difference. The difference will be made using innovative thinking and imagination to envision new ways of addressing social and political challenges, particularly those faced by Waikiki’s homeless population. Together, we can advocate for change within Waikiki and beyond by engaging with local government and actively participating in efforts to improve the community. For my part, I commit to transparency and authenticity. I have a checkered past, and I won’t whitewash it. Ask me anything.
I also commit to providing only positive portrayals of the people I feature in my videos. I am not out to belittle or make fun of anyone. Whether the subject of the video is an unhoused person, a visitor to Hawaii, or a local politician, I commit to portraying them in the best light I can. Uncle Joe’s Waikiki is a platform for advocacy for systemic change. We will lobby the Waikiki Neighborhood Board and the Honolulu City Council (as well as State and Federal government) for reforms that address homelessness and crime in Waikiki, as well as other issues. I see myself as a voice for the disenfranchised. You can add your voice. Together we can help those who are unhoused, disabled, or in other ways disenfranchised.
I’ve been a soldier, a teacher, an advocate for people with disabilities, an attorney and a ne’er-do-well. I’ve struggled with substance abuse and homelessness in Waikiki. Now I share the real Waikiki with visitors and residents alike.