Donté Colley Dazed 100
Donté ColleyCourtesy of Donté Colley
“I want to bring people together from all over the globe and provide a platform to feel joy through dance

Donté Colley

Age - 23
 Scarborough, Canada
@donte.colley
Donté Colley
“I want to bring people together from all over the globe and provide a platform to feel joy through dance

Canadian dancer and digital communications student Donté Colley rocketed to viral stardom last year, amassing an online audience with his uplifting, emoji-laden videos that can’t help but put you in a good mood. He has since contributed to and starred in Ariana Grande and Victoria Monet’s "Monopoly" video, appeared in Doja Cat’s “Say So" video, and created content for Will Smith’s Bucket List. But there’s so much more to what he does than just generating likes and follows. “Six years ago, I was in a very different place mentally,” he explains. “I haven’t always had the best experience on social media. I used to constantly compare my image, identity – pretty much everything about myself – to everyone else’s unique journey.” 

Using his personal experiences as a springboard for change, Colley now seeks to promote social media as a safe space to practice and spread the message of self-love. “Love really is a catalyst for change,” he says. With the internet a toxic place at times, Colley’s positivity is a necessary breath of fresh air, and his universal message has caught the attention of Beyoncé and Kacey Musgraves, as well as thousands of others. “I know what darkness feels like, and there are still days I get swooped into the grey zone,” Colley says. “We are all in this together, and none of us will have everything figured out. I never want people to feel like they are alone.” 

How did you start doing the work you do, and what inspires it?

Donté Colley: I’m an introverted/extrovert so even though I am ‘me’ 100% of the time, you get ALL of me through what I post. The internet has definitely contributed to developing my work and who I am today. I never started doing what I’ve done to be found, but to find others who were looking for what I was looking for – positivity, especially on the internet. The internet can be so dark sometimes. Seeing individuals who lead with love build community have always been people who inspire me the most.

What issues or causes are you most passionate about and why?

Donté Colley: I am a strong advocate for mental health, especially because it hits so close to home for me, in so many ways. In 2015, my sister committed suicide. Every day is a challenge but for both her and (myself) I wanted to continue to help people in any way I could. The stigma contributes to a hesitation in asking for help, and we need to erase that. We’ve been taught that ‘you’re not strong if you express vulnerability’ – no. Vulnerability is strength, and we need to start by seeking out and listening to all underserved or inappropriately served communities, whether that be communities of colour, LGBTQ+, and social and economically disadvantaged communities. 

“We are all in this together, and none of us will have everything figured out. I never want people to feel like they are alone” – Donté Colley

How has the Coronavirus outbreak affected you, your work, and/or your community?

Donté Colley: It definitely has impacted and affected us all in so many ways. This time is going to teach us to really appreciate life for what it is. Not everything is guaranteed. Physically we aren’t together but we are connecting socially in a way we never have before, and I think it will benefit us and our relationships for the better. We got this.

What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?

Donté Colley: I am aiming to bring people together from all over the globe and provide a platform to feel joy through dance. Hosting an event or continuous television series where there is a constant shuffle of different people expressing themselves through movement and music. Music and dance heals and brings people together. I would love for this to be accessible to stream for everyone to participate in and be involved from home.

Hannah Tindle

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