The growing popularity of TikTok has opened up a new avenue for internet fame, making it so that anyone with a phone and even a beginner-level editing ability can achieve viral internet celebrity in no time. This tech-cultural shift has notably created opportunities for white TikTok users to become stars; from Addison Rae to the D’Amelio sisters to your local beekeeper, many white TikTokers have the app to thank for their new celeb status. However, an upcoming Hulu documentary would like to point your attention to the Black side of TikTok, where users like the Collab Crib are paving their own path.
The Collab Crib will make their television debut in The New York Times Presents: Who Gets to Be an Influencer?, a documentary collaboration between The New York Times, FX, and Hulu. If you’re following the right people, it’s likely that you’ve probably come across the content that comes from the Atlanta-based Black TikTok house at some point during your late-night scrolls — that’s a sign that the algorithm is working. But if you haven’t seen the Collab Crib on your feed yet, there’s a big chance that you’ll see them everywhere after this film is released.
Who Gets to Be an Influencer? follows the social media posse and their manager Keith Dorsey on the journey to a collective goal of increasing their individual and group follower counts as well as securing paid sponsorships within a time frame of 90 days. From the outside looking in, it may seem like the goal isn’t all that lofty, but the unfortunate reality is that Black TikTok creators have long gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to being recognized and compensated for their work. Despite being successful on the app and influencing modern pop culture in obvious ways, many Black Tiktokers haven't broken through to mainstream fame at the same rate as their white counterpoints in other TikTik houses. For the members of the Collab Crib, that inequity is exactly what drives them to keep creating.
"What makes us different, per se, more so is our energy," explained Collab Crib member Kaelyn Kastle in conversation with ET. "I feel like we didn't come here asking for anything — we don't want handouts."
"It's hard to separate the fact that we're Black. But, you know, Black people, we have to work a little harder for everything, so we already knew that we're not being set to the same benchmarks and standards as most of these houses are."
You'll want to get to know these talented new upstarts before they blow up even more. Ahead, the founding members of Collab Crib.
24-year-old Kastle is from Bermuda and started using TikTok as a means of jumpstarting her career as a professional singer. As one of Collab Crib's OG members, Kastle has been able to raise her profile on social media, her singing and skits attracting over 2 million followers on TikTok.
Wisseh's page gets a little weird at times — but in the best, most TikTok way possible. This creator is best known for his silly skits and dad jokes that are adorably bad.
Speaking of bad jokes, Wisseh's partner-in-crime Noah is always down for a laugh, whether it's in a relatable skit or a few one-liners of his own.
The baby of the Atlanta content house, Collab Crib's Queen Khamyra racks in thousands of like and views on all of her posts. The impressively high engagement is no doubt a testament to the fact that she's she's been on social media for most of her life.
"I've been doing social media for, like, a very long time," she told ET. "Like, every platform — Dubsmash, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram.
Bills is very good at dancing, and Collab Crib fans often get the chance to get reposted on his page by way of dueting — stitching their videos alongside his original posts.
Dance routines, hair tutorials, fashion advice, skits, and memes — Dabney does it all. With 1.7 million followers and over 36 million likes on TikTok, this creator's page is the one stop shop for anything you're in the mood for.
TikTok and dance challenges go hand in hand, and Collab Crib member Neil creates daily new dances for you to impress (or stump) your followers with. Try and keep up, will ya?
Who Gets to Be an Influencer? wil premiere on FX on Friday, June 4 before being available for streaming on Hulu.