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With over 142.9 million followers, Lame dethroned teenage dancer and content creator Charli D’Amelio to become the most followed person on the platform.

Lame, 22, who was born in the West African nation of Senegal and now lives in Italy, creates videos in which he wordlessly reacts to absurd life hacks, racking up millions of views and likes with each post .

Over the past few weeks, his fans have launched a social media effort to push him ahead of D’Amelio on TikTok. On Instagram, Lame has 78.3 million followers compared to D’Amelio’s 48.8 million.
Lame, (pronounced Lah-MAY), started posting videos after losing his job as a factory worker in Italy at the start of the pandemic in 2020. He spent his days locked up at his parents’ house in the Italian town of Chivasso, looking for a job. One day he downloaded TikTok and started tinkering with it in his bedroom, posting videos of himself as Khaby Lame.

At first, like many TikTokers, he created clips of himself dancing, watching video games, or doing comedy stunts. In early 2021, he began poking fun at life-hacking videos flooding social media platforms — reacting to them with a dumb shrug or an exasperated look.

“I came up with the idea because I was seeing these videos circulating, and I liked the idea of ​​bringing some simplicity to it,” Lame told CNN late last year. “I thought of a way to reach as many people as possible. And the best way was not to talk.”

In addition to life hacking videos, Lame also posts short comedy sketches that feature his expressive reactions — but not words.

His reactions personify the term “shake your head,” or SMH for short on the internet. After his sensible approach to a task, Lame extends his arms with his palms facing up, as if to say “duh”. Sometimes he throws a roll of his eyes or a nod of his head.

These quiet but expressive reactions have made him one of the most recognizable digital creators on social media.

“You don’t have to speak to be seen or understood,” Christina Ferraz, founder of Houston-based PR agency Thirty6five, told CNN. “His exasperation is relatable and the feelings are universal.”

Lame’s deadpan humor has drawn fans around the world, who regularly send him videos of people performing simple tasks in complicated ways.

His stoic facial expressions have also turned him into a meme star – with his face reposted in reaction videos on social media.

Lame did not immediately respond to a request from CNN for comment on his new reign as the most-followed TikTok account. But he told CNN last year that he was not posting the videos to publicize himself.

“I don’t care if I’m the first, second or fourth most popular on TikTok. I started making videos because I wanted to make people laugh in this time of confinement,” he said. . “And I keep making videos with the same ideals. I’m happy with my accomplishments, but those aren’t my main goals.”

Lame said one of his goals is to work with his favorite movie star, Will Smith.


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