There is a new leader on TikTok. Last night, Senegalese-born creator Khaby Lame, 22, surpassed American TikTok star Charli D’Amelio to become the user with the most followers on the platform. Currently, Lame has more followers than D’Amelio (142.3 million), who has more than 142.7 million.
With the help of TikTok’s duet and stich functions, Lame, an Italian user, first gained popularity by wordlessly responding to convoluted and ridiculous “life hacks.” He now posts silent comedic routines almost exclusively, garnering millions of views and likes. His fanbase started growing rapidly last year, and in recent weeks, supporters have started campaigns to elevate him to the top.
It is crucial that Lame has surpassed D’Amelio and replaced him. D’Amelio and her sister Dixie are two of the key figures behind TikTok, having built a complete media company on the back of what they concede was first unintentional fame. Millions of fans have been motivated to try to do the same by their spectacular ascent to fame through brief dancing videos, which has baffled many who aren’t on TikTok. According to estimates from Forbes, the sisters made about $27.5 million last year.
Given previous complaints made by consumers on the platform about how creators of color, and notably Black producers, are handled, Lame becoming the most popular figure on TikTok is noteworthy.
In response to claims that the TikTok algorithm suppresses content from Black creators, the company promised to take action in 2020. These steps included forming a diversity council and giving money to charities “that help the Black community.” Some Black creators participated in a de facto strike last year, refusing to choreograph dances that would have otherwise disproportionately benefited white creators due to lack of credit for choreographing viral dances to big tunes.
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