Senegalese Khaby Lame becomes the most followed personality on TikTok

He dethroned American influencer Charli d’Amelio. This June 23, the tiktokeur Khaby Lame, of Senegalese origin, became the number 1 of the Chinese social network. At 22, he has 143.3 million subscribers on his Tik Tok channel, which he launched in March 2020. And all that without having said a single word.

From Worker to Internet Icon

Before becoming the star of Tik Tok, Khaby Lame, real name Khabane Lame, had a very different life. Born in Senegal, he arrived in Italy with his parents at the age of 1 year. He grew up in the popular neighborhoods of Chivasso, a small town in the region of Turin. However, he does not have Italian citizenship. A worker in a factory, he was fired in March 2020. It was at this time, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, that he began to make videos on Tik Tok.

The pandemic had just started, I was bored and had a lot of time on my hands, so I started making videos on Tik Tok“, he says in an interview for the English-language magazine Forbes. His specialty: making fun of tutorial videos with his very expressive face. He does not speak any words in his videos. Thus, the language barrier is not a problem for Khaby Lame. He conveys his message by rolling his eyes or waving his hands showing that the solution to the problem is obvious.

His bet is successful: his facial expressions go viral and the subscriber counter panics. With more than 275 million views, the video where he mocks a tutorial for peeling a banana with a knife is one of his best known. Very quickly, his notoriety increased and he received a large number of partnership requests. Now he is based in Milan, where he is part of the talent agency Iron Corporation.

My only goal is to make people laugh without offending the authors.Khaby Lame, tiktoker

Always light content

In an interview for the French daily Le FigaroKhaby Lame claims to be inspired by “daily life” to make his videos. “My only goal is to make people laugh without offending the authors”, he adds. Moreover, the young man applies, with a few exceptions, not to take a position in public on divisive subjects.

In September 2021, after three players from the Italian city of Naples football team were the victims of racist shouting during a match, Khaby Lame posted an anti-racist message on his Tik Tok account. As a result, he lost subscribers. He also committed to the climate in a video published in October 2021. He is seen holding a sign “Fridays for Future” (Fridays for the Future in French), alongside Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and Ugandan Vanessa Nakate.

More recently, at the beginning of March, he published a video where he puts himself in the shoes of a Russian soldier on the front, making peace with a Ukrainian soldier. Through this staging, he wishes to promote peace between Russia and Ukraine. In the comments of this video, many Internet users criticize him for not taking a position about conflicts present in other countries, such as in Palestine.

In an interview for the French magazine specializing in football So Foot, the tiktokeur claims to be a “neutral” supporter. “I like different teams”, he says. In this way, he avoids positioning himself on a particular team, at the risk of disappointing those who do not support this team. Does he try to avoid losing subscribers by not taking positions that can create disagreements?

Beyond Tik Tok

In addition to having conquered social networks, the Senegalese videographer has added several strings to his bow. In February, he becomes the new face of Hugo Boss. On June 18, the brand even announced a capsule collection made with the content creator. Apart from creating videos Khaby Lame is also making a name for herself in the fashion industry.

In May 2022, Khaby Lame was invited to the Cannes Film Festival to be part of the #TikTokShortFilm jury. The platform was the official partner of this edition of the festival. This is why a competition of short format works was organised. In Le Figaro, he also talks about his dreams of cinema. “I must tell you that my ultimate dream would be to one day be consecrated to Hollywood by an Oscar after having received the Palme d’Or at the Festival”, explains the tiktoker. His facial expressions, which have become his trademark, will they soon be on the big screen?

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Senegalese Khaby Lame becomes the most followed personality on TikTok