Khaby Lame Dethrones Charli D’Amelio as TikTok’s Most-Followed Creator TechCrunch

Just in time for VidCon, TikTok has a new creator with the most followers on the platform: Khaby Lame, a 22-year-old from Senegal who rose to fame putting together and dueting other TikToks and fixing wordless viral « life hacks » that didn’t initially did work.

As of yesterday, Khaby Lame has 142.7 million followers, surpassing longtime lead TikTok creator Charli D’Amelio at number one.

D’Amelio spoke on a panel with Lightricks at VidCon today, but she wasn’t upset about losing her #1 title – after all, it’s all about showing off rights.

« I had No. 1 for two years. It’s about time someone else got that spot and I’m proud of them. He’s a friend and there’s no bad blood, » said Charli D’Amelio on the VidCon stage. « It feels great to know someone else is getting that spot — someone who is sweet and a good person and loves what they do. »

She also told the crowd at VidCon that she has 2,400 TikTok drafts — the secret!

But for creators who make the big bucks, it’s not just about the followers. Here’s how to use them.

Charli D’Amelio, her sister Dixie D’Amelio, and their parents have built a media empire, complete with a Hulu reality show, a clothing line with Hollister, numerous brand deals, and their own Snap original show. The D’Amelio sisters and their parents have also become venture capitalists themselves, investing in FaceTune maker Lightricks. Even as TikTokers like Lame rise to fame, black creators are noticeably absent from the Forbes list of highest-paid influencers. Charli D’Amelio is #1 with $17.5 million in annual earnings, while her sister Dixie brings in $10 million.

To combat these disparities, platforms like Snapchat and Patreon have launched incubator programs for BIPOC creators, giving them access to more upfront capital, production resources, and mentoring.

In terms of total followers across all platforms, only one YouTube channel has surpassed 200 million: T-Series, an Indian record label and film company. For now – until TikTok rolls out better monetization options for developers – most of the opportunities to capitalize on the fame built there are outside of the platform.

Update Jun 23 2:10pm PDT: Charli D’Amelio addressed Khaby Lame and overtook her in follower count. A quote has been added.

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