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Khaby Lame set to overtake Charli D’Amelio onTikTok
Via TikTok/@khaby.lame

Khaby Lame is set to overtake Charli D’Amelio as TikTok’s biggest star

The 21-year-old creator has already surpassed Addison Rae to take the number two spot

TikTok has created its own generation of almost-overnight celebrities, and since March 2020 Charli D’Amelio has reigned in the top spot, hitting 100 million followers for the first time in November the same year. Now though, the 21-year-old TikTok creator Khabane Lame (AKA @khaby.lame) looks set to take the crown.

Lame posted his first TikTok video around the same time that D’Amelio entered pole position. Since then, the Senegalese-Italian creator has amassed over 90 million followers on the app, with more than 1.3 billion likes.

Last week, this rapid ascent to fame saw him surpass Addison Rae as the second-most-followed TikToker in the world (Addison Rae has a mere 81 million followers). This also came in the wake of a New York Times feature, published back in June, when Lame counted around 65 million users in his audience.

Given this trajectory, Lame is on track to overtake D’Amelio in the near future, to become the most-followed creator of all time. According to the analytics site SocialBlade, his follow rate was almost eight times faster than D’Amelio’s as of last week, and if it stays that way he could overtake her as early as mid-August.

How did Lame reach such dizzying heights? Well, first he lost his job in a northern Italian factory due to the coronavirus pandemic, which inspired him to start posting short comedy skits and viral memes on the platform. In particular, his wordless deconstructions of needlessly complicated “life hack” videos — which often see him hopelessly throw up his hands, as he provides a simple solution — caught on with viewers. 

One recent clip, for example, features a video of someone removing a cherry stem with a metal contraption, to a sped up version of Billie Eilish’s “you should see me in a crown”. Cut to Lame: he sits on a train and easily takes the stem off with his fingers, before popping it into his mouth and shaking his head. As of writing, the video has 126 million views.

Despite all the hype, though, Lame says that he doesn’t treat TikTok like a competition. “I’m happy to be the first in Italy and all, but I didn’t start TikTok for this,” he tells the Times. He does, however, have dreams of bringing as much joy to his fans as his idols, Will Smith and Eddie Murphy, in the future. TikTok’s top spot seems like a good place to start.

@khaby.lame

Let’s eat 🍒 But I don't like seeing you make your life harder. Mangiamo 🍒 ma non mi piace che ti complichi la vita.##learnfromkhaby ##LearnWithTikTok

♬ suono originale - Khabane lame