Khaby Lame, a Senegalese-born 22-year-old living in Italy, swept past D’Amelio Wednesday night to a current follower count of 142.6 million to D’Amelio’s 142.3 million.
Lame rose to prominence by leveraging TikTok’s duet feature to react to overcomplicated “life hacks.” He would complete the task simply and in silence, his big eyes and disappointed frown a universal stand-in for the audience’s exasperation. His recent content has become more elaborate, and he has expanded to include skits and collaborations with other creators. A campaign to nab Lame the top spot, led primarily by TikTok user Noah Glenn Carter, was accompanied by a hashtag: #khabytonumberone.
Lame’s star is on the rise offline, too. After asking the TikTokker to grace their runway at Milan Fashion Week in September 2021, BOSS announced in January that they have signed a multi-year partnership with Lame. Last week, he dropped a capsule collection with the fashion house that includes a doll of himself.
For years, the online creator space has been dominated by white creators (think Addison Rae and the D’Amelio’s on TikTok and Pewdiepie, MrBeast, David Dobrik, and the Paul Brothers on YouTube). It’s thrilling to finally see a Black creator clinch the top spot on the most downloaded app in the world.