The Meme Illuminati: Behind Instagram’s Comedy Empire

In 2020, he who rules the memes, it seems, rules the world — or at least the world as we see it online.

Memes are no longer just jokes on the internet. As the 2010s saw random image macros and Impact font get overtaken in relevancy by square white boxes with photos and cartoons captioned with Arial or Montserrat text, the decade also witnessed the meme-ification of everyone and everything vital in politics, pop culture and the arts.

Suddenly the measure of a moment’s cultural importance often hinged on the number of memes it generated. (Remember Nancy Pelosi’s State of the Union clap, Baby Yoda or Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s extremely close Oscars performance?) In some cases, memes went from being a reflection of culture to the driving force behind it. (See: The contingent who believe Pepe the Frog and “meme magic” helped Donald Trump win the 2016 election.)

We’re living in a time when attention spans are rapidly shrinking and if “the medium is the message,” memes are uniquely well-suited for our age. And there’s a massive amount of influence to be found for those making them. Not surprisingly, there’s now a glut of meme accounts across multiple social media platforms but amidst all of the noise, one growing Instagram meme empire stands out: Doing Things Media.

Makers of viral meme accounts @MiddleClassFancy, @NeatDad, and @AnimalsDoingThings, among many others, DTM has garnered over 50 million collective followers, many of whom flock to their accounts for a particular kind of suburban Boomer humor. While much of the internet is screaming about politics and issues, DTM’s accounts have bucked the trend in favor of a simpler, more inane kind of comedy that resonates for a wide cross-section of followers who span backgrounds, identities and partisan views.

Founded in 2017 by Reid Hailey, 30, and Derek Lucas, also 30, the company is headquartered in Atlanta and currently has 20 people on staff working behind-the-scenes across 20 brands.

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“I started making memes in 2015 around the time Fat Jewish and Fuck Jerry had, like, 100,000 followers,” Reid explains of Doing Things Media’s origins. At the time, @TheFatJewish and @FuckJerry were popular “meme curators” publishing memes made by other people, rather than true meme makers. As the accounts grew more popular, a number of media outlets ran stories criticizing those accounts for not doing enough attribution, repurposing memes that were not their own, and in some cases, flat-out plagiarizing jokes. “No one was really making original content in that space at the time,” Reid reflects. “So I started making memes. I found Derek through that process — we basically met in a chat.”

Reid grew up in Atlanta and had always run his own businesses on the side — a chauffeur service here, booking bands there. In 2014, however, he got sick with Lyme Disease and was unable to work a “normal job,” and it was then that he started making memes.

Derek — who was then living in the Bay Area while running a clothing company that eventually became a social-first marijuana delivery service — had also started a meme page where he posted original content.

“Like Reid, I got into making memes after seeing @FuckJerry and @TheFatJewish,” Derek explains. “I knew they didn’t really make the memes, but the more I dug into it, the more I realized it was the same [handful of] creators creating them instead… so I became a fan of a couple different pages. Reid’s page was one, Lee’s” — more on him later — “was another. We all created this group together and started cranking out 10 or 15 memes a day each, which is kind of the origin.”

The group chat was called “The Meme illuminati,” which Reid says was comprised of “me (@shitheadsteve/@trashcanpaul), Derek (@champagneemojis, before he started @drunkpeopledoingthings AKA @nochaser today), Lee (founder of @middleclassfancy) and Kenny (who created the meme account @drgrayfang).” They created the chat group over Instagram DM “to collaborate on original memes together for our pages and would credit each other on those collabs. It helped us grow the pages.”

Soon, some of the best memes on the internet started coming from this small group of people, which at one point included John Mayer (yes, the musician) and comedian Chris D’Elia. “We added John Mayer, Chris D’Elia and a few others on a whim one day since they followed some of our pages at the time. When they joined they immediately responded and started making memes with us. We were really surprised they even responded,” Reid explains. “BJ Novak was in there at one point, and we were making memes with him. He was really good at it and hilarious, which is what you’d expect.”

He continues, “The chat is still there, but not as active today since Derek and myself are not running any pages.” (Doing Things Media has a team for the actual posting now, though the two are still involved in the collaborative process of making memes. They also now accept user generated content submissions that they vet internally and reshare — always with credit to the original creator.)

Thus, in an internet culture where memes can feel like they come out of nowhere, Reid, Derek and others brought intentionality to the process. Their method worked — the accounts started growing hand over fist — and eventually “Reid and I started working together officially and started Doing Things [Media],” Derek reflects.

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A prominent pillar of this nascent meme conglomerate is @MiddleClassFancy, a suburban humor account that winkingly makes fun of white people — especially white Boomer culture — with laser-like cheekiness. (As of publish date, the account has 2.1 million followers.)

“@MiddleClassFancy was created by Lee Ayers, who is a partner at Doing Things,” Derek explains. “When me and Lee and Reid and a couple of other meme creators all started working together in 2015, we had a collective of maybe 10,000 followers when we first linked up. We would collaborate on memes together and Lee ended up going on to create @MiddleClassFancy about a year into our collaborating. When Reid and I created Doing Things Media, we brought Lee on shortly after and acquired @MiddleClassFancy.”

Part of the appeal of @MiddleClassFancy has to do with the fact that the account rarely takes a stance in an internet culture where the loudest voices usually feel compelled to take one. When @MiddleClassFancy describes a certain type of person — like “Tammy, 41,” who “gets a French tip manicure every Thursday, owns every Pandora charm, just switched from a Coach to a Michael Kors bag, husband is a construction contractor, has a toe ring, drives a Tahoe” (words accompanied by a picture of a tanning bed) — they aren’t necessarily saying this person is good or bad. Much like the “starter pack” meme trend of a couple years ago, MCF has merely perfected the art of exposing a character we all know, succinctly enumerating her attributes and confirming that she is indeed “a type.”

Because of these archetypes’ relative ubiquity throughout American culture and their bland innocuousness, the humor and impact of these memes comes from that jolt of recognition we all get when someone shares a spot-on description of something — or someone — that we’d stopped actively paying attention to. Suddenly realizing how easy it is to break down a type of person you’ve taken for granted — like a suburban Boomer parent or white bro-y office colleague — often results in a sort of contact high. Everyone knows, or knows of, a Tammy but unlike a “Karen” or a “Becky,” Tammy isn’t saddled with negative connotations. Instead, whether you interpret her as friend, foe, or fable is a matter of perspective.

“Nance” — who loves her margaritas to-go — and Rand — a lawn maintenance aficionado — have become recurring fan favorites. Everyone that follows the @MiddleClassFancy account knows the “Nance” trope, just like how everyone who’s seen Friends knows the Phoebe one. (“Lee created Rand and Nance,” Derek explains. “He’s from a town that has less than 2,000 people or something crazy like that. He always describes MCF as people who were in his town growing up.”)

Doing Things Media’s other accounts repeatedly use the same motifs and stock images with different jokes, which has built a sort of insider culture of anticipatory humor. @NeatDad, for example, has a recurring theme of dads not wanting anyone else to touch the thermostat. They also regularly share this stock image dad discussing everything from the weather to lawn care. Meanwhile, this goofy smiling white guy has been lampooned as everything from an attention-seeking millennial to a prank-loving co-worker who’s behaving like a “little stinker.” In a way, the awkward deadpan of these memes has the same appeal as the kind of humor that made people love The Office.

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When I was talking to a friend about Doing Things’ comedy brands, she noted that she loves @MiddleClassFancy and @NeatDad because she thinks the characters are funny — i.e., she loves laughing at them. However, this friend also lives in the suburbs, and she was quick to note that her colleagues and neighbors love MCF, too — because they see themselves and their family members in the characters. Nance might be easy to laugh at, but depending on how you are socially conditioned, she may also be relatable. As a result, MCF attracts a more diverse following than many social media fandoms — not in spite of the fact that so many of their jokes poke fun at white suburban Boomer culture, but because of it.

Doing Things’ animal-themed meme accounts and MCF in particular appeal to a wide cross section of people. Part of this comes from the universal appeal of animals — their @AnimalsDoingThings account is exactly what it sounds like, but “a lot of it stems from what we know does well from a content perspective,” says Reid. “For example, we have tried content that is funny but clearly leans a certain way politically, and it just doesn’t do as well. The stuff that does the best is content that is just funny no matter what your political standing is.”

“I was initially tagged in an old post and was hooked,” says a follower named Travis (@tankwilliams_jr on Instagram). The self-described “conservative (moderate on social issues), suburban father and trophy bass hunter” said over DM that “growing up upper middle class, all these memes hit home for me and they’re hilarious.”

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“I found them on my explore page and decided to follow,” says Christine Trefalt (@christinetrefalt), a self-identified mixed-race woman who “gravitat[es] towards liberal” viewpoints but is “not into politics at all.”

“Isolation made me be on my phone longer,” she explains over DM, in reference to the COVID-19 quarantine. “And funny posts help ease through these tough times.”

“I honestly don’t know how I found @MiddleClassFancy. Maybe it found me, to be honest,” says another follower, Drew Shipman (@drewshipman), a self-described liberal white man. “I love them though because I often describe myself in dating profiles as a middle aged white wine mom in a 21-year-old gay man’s body, so their content is on brand as hell,” he shares over DMs.

“I love their memes whenever they mention TJ Maxx,” he continues. “I grew up in a small town in Washington and sometimes the only thing to do was to go smell candles at TJ on a random Tuesday afternoon. I love the absurdity of some of the memes, as well as the general critique of some of the social quirks that uniquely define Boomers.”

The unifying sentiment between random followers that we polled, moreover, seems to be that @MiddleClassFancy, in particular, offers an escape that is uniquely welcome given the present, muddied state of the world.

“There is nothing more captivating than content that can relate to the common person, and in this case, @MiddleClassFancy embodies just that in its purest form by way of memes,” says a self-identified independent named Cole Pittman (@coleeeworldd). “I am from Salem, Oregon and for those who know of my city, it is riddled with Applebee’s-loving, ‘live, laugh, love’ decorated home interiors, Levi jeans and New Balance sneakers-wearing good ole middle class ‘Karens’ and ‘Rands’.”

With this level of reach comes a certain amount of diplomacy, which, for many, is also part of the appeal of Doing Things’ meme accounts. If culture is constantly buoying between narratives driven by “coastal elites” and opposing “rural” perspectives, then Doing Things’ suburban humor occupies a sweet spot in the middle — literally and metaphorically.

The overall theme of what makes it onto any of their meme pages seems to be “nostalgic wholesomeness” — humor that somehow doesn’t offend anyone because the stereotypes they joke about are so deeply benign. When everything else in the world seems so fragile and chaotic, it’s weirdly comforting. “Almost every meme is something I see and think, ‘Yep, that’s my parents,'” says Pete Freeman (@peteyfreeinthisb) a self-identified white male who is “liberal for sure.”

“I grew up in Ohio and now live in NYC. I think my upbringing in the Midwest is why I love the page,” he says. “I’m more than convinced most of these memes are poking fun at Ohio.”

“We try to steer clear of politics,” Derek explains of the accounts, which generally avoid overt hot button social or political issues, even if the characters behave in a way that some would associate with certain political or class-based predilections. “It’s all about making fun of people and not having a strong opinion about one thing or the other; it’s more about bringing humor to whatever is topical at the moment.”

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Reid adds that “Lee describes himself as the epitome of @MiddleClassFancy, so it’s all self-deprecating in a positive way — but it’s relatable. Everyone can relate to their dad mowing the lawn at 6 AM. We just want to make people laugh without alienating anyone, because (our following) is definitely split down the middle in terms of political views.”

When I ask a few followers about the predominant Doing Things aesthetic, and how it’s decidedly white, it’s clear that the appeal lies in the fact that the memes touch on broadly relatable – or, at least, recognizable – tropes, regardless of the person in the stock photo or the one clicking the “like” button. “It’s just super relatable,” says Freeman. “A lot of human traits and habits are funny regardless of political beliefs, geography or race, and that’s what appeals to me,” echoes Trefalt.

Plus, of course, there’s the element of escaping from headlines. “I think a lot of people are tired of seeing politically fueled stuff on the internet, especially with the news,” Reid adds.

Doing Things Media did, however, deviate from their typically apolitical approach in early 2020 when they accepted money from Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign to post sponcon about Bloomberg across several of their channels. The nod made a huge splash, and the next day Doing Things was on calls with 15 different media outlets, including the New York Times, Reuters, ABC News, CNBC, CNN, Forbes and Buzzfeed. If you didn’t believe in the potential political power of memes before, the interest from major television news networks and publications should obviate it.

The Doing Things team now recognizes the implications of breaking with their politics-free M.O., but they didn’t see the Bloomberg sponsorship as taking a stance in any way. “The opportunity came across our plate,” Reid explains, “and we were really debating whether to do it or not. Eventually we realized that, at least from the creative perspective, there was a lot of room to poke fun and make people laugh, so we felt like as long as we weren’t overtly endorsing him there was a lot of room to do something that hasn’t really been done before — especially in the meme space.”

Derek adds, “We didn’t consider it an endorsement. But if anybody wants to pay us to poke fun at them, we will do that. It wasn’t like we were saying outright, ‘Go vote for Bloomberg.’ It was kind of a name recognition thing, sure, but it wasn’t like any of our brands said, ‘This is who we’re voting for,’ or, ‘Go vote for him.’ It was more just a unique opportunity and we got to make fun of him, so we did it.”

The sponsorship was particularly prescient given the new role that social media is playing in politics. Facebook ads, for example, are not regulated like TV ads, which means politicians can basically pay to put up fake news and disinformation. In this climate, meme sponcon can easily be misconstrued as an endorsement even though it is, in fact, technically an ad. When people see a Bloomberg digital banner ad on the New York Times homepage (or on a TV spot on NBC), no one assumes the New York Times is endorsing Bloomberg. But when we see a politician mentioned or sponcon posted on someone’s Instagram, including a meme account, it somehow feels murkier — if only because there wasn’t really a precedent for it until now. Memes are also different because traditional ads are produced by campaigns in-house and shared in a purchased media time slot or ad space. In the case of a collaborative meme campaign, the creators actually put their own spin and humor into the project. This, in turn, changes the look and feel of the information.

Working with “Meme 2020”, a large meme-meets-politics group led by Jerry Media Executive Mick Purzycki (the company and leadership behind @fuckjerry), Doing Things Media was given free reign from the campaign, so they followed the same model they’ve used for the Tammys, Rands and Nances of the world, and posted about Bloomberg on 10 of their meme accounts, including @NeatDad and @GamersDoingThings.

Most of the sponsored content — like the post on @NeatDad — was just “fake” conversations between the Bloomberg account and the Doing Things account, in which Bloomberg asked, “If I follow you, will you follow back?” Other posts were a little more overt, but followed the same pattern of the candidate shamelessly asking for a shout-out: “Can you post this viral video of me playing solitaire for iPhone,” fake Bloomberg asked @GamersDoingThings, “to let young people know I’m the cool candidate?”

If indeed it’s true that “there’s no such thing as bad press,” then the Bloomberg campaign got what they hoped for.

Still, DTM and the rest of the Meme 2020 group who participated in the project were hit with backlash. Fuck Jerry seemed to be the hardest hit, since they were the ones who coordinated the participating meme accounts, including those run by Doing Things Media.

“Bloomberg using FuckJerry to promote is actually on brand bc they both exploit people and take all the money,” wrote one Twitter user.

Bloomberg using FuckJerry to promote is actually on brand bc they both exploit people and take all the money. — Brian “Box” Brown (@Brian “Box” Brown)1581596947.0

“Imagine being so fundamentally loathsome that you have to pay fuckjerry to make memes about you,” said another.

Imagine being so fundamentally loathsome that you have to pay fuckjerry to make memes about you — pixelatedboat aka “mr tweets” (@pixelatedboat aka “mr tweets”)1581574992.0

But it’s unclear whether the ire directed at the meme campaign was more a function of preexisting anger surrounding @fuckjerry’s meme-stealing past, Bloomberg’s divisiveness, or both.

“[The Bloomberg collaboration] was also kind of an educational experience for us,” Derek shares. “Some accounts took it worse than others. I didn’t know a ton about Bloomberg before this, but I was reading the backlash and I guess he’s been pretty adamant about being against weed, so we learned that from the community on our @fourtwenty account” (a meme account whose post on May 5 was a picture of a cannabis plant wearing a sombrero with the inscription, “Let’s get Cinco de High, yo!”).

“We could have looked into him more, but I’m happy we didn’t,” he concludes. “It was an interesting experience, for sure.” But there were, in Reid’s words, “about 1 million 13-year-olds calling me a sellout. But that’s because they don’t know how the world works yet. If you have a meme page, you’re gonna place ads — and if you don’t, what are you doing?”

Today, Doing Things Media has a diversified business with five distinct revenue streams: Consumer products, brand partnerships, subscription/platform (including passive FB/YT revenue from videos and Patreon, where it’s $5 a month to view exclusive content for DTM’s show All Gas No Brakes), as well as video licensing and traditional media (including TV and books). Doing Things Media’s TV show, “Animals Doing Things” — a spin off of their @AnimalsDoingThings account, which is narrated by Howie Mandel — is now in it’s second season on Nat Geo Wild. The company’s first book, Doggos Doing Things — based off of their @DoggosDoingThings account — is out now.

According to Reid, Doing Things Media is self-funded (they don’t have any VC Capital or private investment) and revenue has doubled every year they’ve been in existence. In the span of 2 years, they’ve built a library of 100,000+ viral videos, and they now receive 7,000+ submissions a month, which they use to create native advertisements out of user generated videos. (Learning from past mistakes made by Fuck Jerry, The Fat Jewis, and, more recently, Barstool Sports, Doing Things Media makes it clear upon submission that by doing so, users are waiving their rights to the videos. This way, DTM can avoid legal disputes while keeping copyright trolls at bay.)

This is particularly important given that Doing Things Media’s accounts have become increasingly influential. According to a public post on Doing Things Media’s LinkedIn page, for example, @MiddleClassFancy once grew a random Instagram account called @JustAConstructionGuy to over 60,000 followers in less than 2 hours with one mention. (This was an account run by someone that the DTM team didn’t know. As of publish date, the account has more than 440K followers.)

This kind of influence and built-in audience is naturally appealing to people in power. But if Doing Things Media and other memers in the space start regularly taking money from politicians, what does that change about this influence, if anything?

We don’t have a culture of paying actors, musicians or stand-up comedians for political endorsements — at least not yet. But what Bloomberg’s paid ad proved — and likely why it sent such a ripple through the Internet — is that memes and meme makers are different. We still live in the Wild West of meme accounts and influencers-as-brands, so most of us don’t really know what it means when an account gets paid to do political sponcon. Since it’s in their voice and with their own creative spin, should it really be considered an endorsement — along the lines of a campaign paying, say, Katy Perry to endorse a candidate, which campaigns cannot do — or is it more analogous to a banner ad on NYTimes.com or a TV ad on NBC News? The type of sponcon or native content that traditional print and digital media produce for brands often feels murky enough but things feel exponentially fuzzier when you add meme accounts and politics into the mix.

When I ask Reid and Derek if they would accept money to do something like the Bloomberg sponcon again — if another political campaign approached them — they give a hesitant, diplomatic answer: “It all depends.”

“It would have to be a case by case basis,” says Derek. “We would just look at the situation at hand and decide from there. But we have a lot more information going into this now because of the Bloomberg thing,” which the two still seem to regard as a kind of humor experiment more than anything else.

Doing Things Media may have 20 brands and over 50 million followers to their accounts, but they are still learning and the process is still evolving. That much is clear. But if you want to build a new kind of comedy empire, this kind of self-aware risk taking — and a lighthearted celebration of TJ Maxx — is a good place to start.

PAPER People: @theonlycb3

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

Charles Brockman III AKA theonlycb3‘s TikToks are important. The 21-year-old recreates scenes from TV shows and movies with way too much accuracy, often looking back on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon classics from the 2000s golden age and highlighting how deeply cringey and awkward they were? What were we thinking? Shout out to Bring It On: All or Nothing. He can sing, he runs on the UT track team, and he’s getting us through quar.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 I’m crying at this omg @theonlycb3

♬ original sound – nussbus13

What’s your go-to appetizer?

Chips and salsa and/ or queso all day. You can not go wrong with that.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

I would love to be somewhere happy and pursuing my wildest dreams. My goal is to continue to grow and become a public figure who inspires people around the world. As far as location, I’m not sure yet, but I am sure I will enjoy wherever I am.

What’s your next move if TikTok is banned?

If TikTok gets banned, that would definitely be the quickest rise and fall of my fame on the app since I just downloaded it in March. I am so proud of my growth in this little time, but if it all goes away, I will focus more on my YouTube channel.

What was your first reaction after going viral?

When my first recreation video went viral I was so excited and finally felt like people were appreciating my hard work and humor. I watched the views rise up to one million and I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

If I could teleport that would be so convenient. I have so many things to do during the day and sometimes I just want to be everywhere at once. There are also people who I would love to visit.

When was the last time you cried?

I’m not really a crier. But on August 28 when Chadwick Boseman passed, I couldn’t help it. He was a king and inspiration to so many including myself. This year has us all weary because we have been losing icon after icon, but I hope the rest of this year takes it easy on us. Rest in peace Chadwick.

What’s one thing you’d change about TikTok?

The algorithm is so tricky and changes often. Sometimes it’s inconsistent and I think since TikTok is more interest-based and not chronological, it’s not always certain that your videos will reach everyone you want.

Where do you want to be when the world ends?

I want to be safe in my home with my family watching the sunset having one last home-cooked meal.

Who’s your TikTok crush and why?

My TikTok crush is @chinamcclain. I love the movies she is in and she has a great singing voice. She was actually my crush way before TikTok but hey, now that she has a TikTok, this gives an excuse to shoot my shot.

What was the last song you listened to?

“Summer 2020” by Jhene Aiko. This has been my anthem for a few weeks now. It’s so meaningful and describes this time period perfectly. It is the balance between navigating through the darkness of the world and finding time to appreciate your life and loved ones around you. I play it almost every day.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

PAPER People: @japanesegrandpa

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

With masterfully smooth transitions, flawless e-boy fashion and K-pop idol-worthy, ’90s Leo hair, Neil Shibata AKA @japanesegrandpa couldn’t help but gather a devoted TikTok following when he joined the app in May last year. The 20-year-old Canadian has blown up by sharing his beauty routines, full body bee costume and skits featuring random friends. His fans are called the Grandkidz, and now you’re one of them.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 I am looking respectfully ❤️👄❤️@japanesegrandpa

♬ STAN LIZ SANCHEZ 4 CLEAR SKIN RN – officiallizsanchez

Who was your childhood hero and why?

I’ve always been a huge fan of Selena Gomez. When I was younger, I used to watch Wizard of Waverly Place every day and listen to Selena Gomez all day. I went to her concert once and ever since then, I’ve gained so much respect for her and I’ve been following her ever since.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

In five years from now, I’m hoping to have a more stable lifestyle. With the way I’m managing social media right now, my life is fairly spontaneous and inconsistent. Hopefully in five years I’ll have a stronger niche to which I can focus on and build off of.

Describe your best night in this quarantine.

My best night in quarantine would be the night my best friend and I got some snacks and a blanket and drove far away from the city where we could see the stars and laid on the beach for hours during a meteor shower. I love spending time with my friends and in my opinion, doing things like this where we can remove ourselves from our everyday life is the perfect way relax and spend time with friends.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

I would love to be able to teleport. I love traveling and if I could visit places wherever, whenever, I’d love that. Never having to pay for an Uber ever again… love that.

Who’s your TikTok crush and why?

Noen Eubanks and Abby Roberts. I think they’re both beautiful human beings and I have fat crush on both of them. I love their style of content but I also love how they portray themselves through fashion and makeup.

What’s one thing you’d change about TikTok?

I don’t like the way TikTok caters strictly to American culture; I wish there was more diversity with the videos that are being promoted. I think there’s a lack of creators that are people of colour. Whenever I do come across a person of colour of TikTok, they don’t get as much engagement compared to those that are white. I think this is both an issue with the TikTok company and the TikTok audience.

What was the last song you listened to?

I listen to “Heather” by Conan Gray at least four times a day so I can confidently say that that’s probably the last song I listened to. I recently found a mashup of “Heather” and “Before You Go “by Lewis Capaldi on TikTok and I haven’t gone a day without listening to that mashup in weeks.

What is your most irrational fear?

I’m absolutely terrified of giant rocks in oceans and lakes. I’m, of course, also scared of the sharks and whales and everything that lives in water, but for some reason the thought of a giant rock sitting at the bottom of a lake or ocean makes me never go in past my knees. I also find underwater forests one of the creepiest things in existence. Bottom line I don’t go swimming.

What’s something no one knows about you but you wish people did?

I wish people knew a bit more about my life before starting TikTok. I was leading youth leadership programs and child development programs. I’ve lead programs around Canada and also in China. I had been a participant in these sorts of programs since I was three years old and when I turned 13, I started getting trained as a leader so that I could lead these programs myself. I also was a national-level gymnast and I did gymnastics for 14 years. That later lead to me being a gymnastics coach for four years.

What gives you hope in 2020?

From what I’ve noticed, since being in quarantine, life seems to moving at a slower pace. I think that could lead to a healthier lifestyle and cause less stress in everyones lives. I’m hopeful that this slower pace will be maintained and shift the way we go about our days.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

Kanye West Isn’t Dropping Music Anytime Soon

Whenever Kanye West hops on Twitter to add new notes into his public diary, he makes an announcement, or two, that shocks the world long enough to keep it talking until he releases new music that is usually right around the corner. But, if Monday’s tweetstorm was any indicator, his latest verbal blood-letting isn’t for a new album — it’s to let you know that one’s not coming. And it might not be, anytime soon, as long as he’s still signed to Sony and Universal.

West didn’t sugarcoat the fact that he’s withholding his music. He tweeted, in a now-deleted tweet, “I’m not putting no more music out till I’m done with my contract with Sony and Universal… On God… in Jesus name… come and get me.”

He’s had his fair share of contract-related grievances in the past, with him reaching an undisclosed settlement with EMI Publishing in 2019 due to the ownership of songs that he created after October of 2010. While he didn’t mention this situation in his tweets, he did hint at believing that record labels are screwing artists over.

“I need to see everybody’s contracts at Universal and Sony,” he wrote. “I’m not gonna watch my people be enslaved.” He continued on with a shot at not only record labels, but professional basketball players, as well. “The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships,” he added, before saying, “I’m the new Moses.”

I need to see everybody’s contracts at Universal and Sony

I’m not gonna watch my people be enslaved

I’m putting my life on the line for my people

The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships

I’m the new Moses
— ye (@kanyewest) September 15, 2020

West wasn’t done there. He went on to ask for J. Cole, Drake and Jay-Z to mend any problems that they have with him. “I need a publicly apology from J Cole and Drake to start with Immediately… I’m Nat Turner… I’m fighting for us.” He also wrote that he’s “waiting to meet with” Jay-Z but deleted the tweet and the one before, afterward replacing it because he had misspelled “Shawn” (as in “Shawn Carter,” Jay-Z’s government name) as “Sean.”

Waving the white flag, West wrapped up his thoughts on his peers on a positive note. “I have the utmost respect for all my brothers… we need to link and respect each other… no more dissing each other on labels we don’t own,” he wrote. “I’m not industry bro… I don’t care… I’m in service to Christ… we need world healing… I miss my brothers… I refuse to argue with black men on labels we don’t own… even twitter.”

I have the utmost respect for all brothers … we need to link and respect each other… no more dissing each other on labels we don’t own
— ye (@kanyewest) September 15, 2020
I’m not industry bro … I don’t care… I’m in service to Christ … we need world healing … I miss my brothers… I refuse to argue with black men on labels we don’t own… even twitter
— ye (@kanyewest) September 15, 2020

Check out Kanye’s tweets up above.

Photo via BFA







TikTok Denies Shadow Banning LGBTQ+ Hashtags

As if anyone is shocked –– TikTok is once again censoring LGBTQ+ people on the app.

For a bit of background, the Chinese-owned entertainment app has a history of censoring content. TikTok previously banned pro-LGBTQ+ content, blocked a user that criticized China and has stifled posts from users that were deemed “ugly,” poor or disabled.

Most recently, TikTok administrators admitted that they restricted several LGBTQ+ hashtags on the app. This includes “gay,” “lesbian” and “transgender.” The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) exposed TikTok’s shadow ban against the hashtags in languages including Russian, Estonia, Bosnian and Arabic.

When something is “shadow banned,” a user is able to post their content as normal, but it’s blocked or partially blocked and hidden from the TikTok community. Apps like Instagram use it to block anything sexual.

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

“TikTok users posting videos with these hashtags are given the impression their posts are just as searchable as posts by other users, but in fact they aren’t,” according to the report. “In practice, most of these hashtags are categorized in TikTok’s code in the same way that terrorist groups, illicit substances, and swear words are treated on the platform.”

According to a report from Pink News, TikTok is denying that the app was practicing censorship. Rather, they’re insisting that the shadow ban was a “localized” approach to moderation. In other words, some terms were restricted due to local laws, while “other terms were restricted because they were primarily used when looking for pornographic content.”

Though the spokesperson in the report admitted that some of the terms were being incorrectly moderated, it’s unclear what measures are being taken to rectify the situation.

“We want to be crystal clear that TikTok strongly supports our LGBTQ+ creators around the world and is proud that LGBTQ+ content is among the most popular category on the platform with billions of views,” the spokesperson said.

Photo via Shutterstock

PAPER People: @angelknives13

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

Kim Fernandez AKA @angelknives13‘s hyper-specific POV videos and cosplays (“ur an immortal vampire who has found someone who looks like your first love… ur confusing her LMAOO”) have her hundreds of thousands of TikTok fans simping in the comments. The 19-year-old is also a gamer streaming on Twitch, where you can watch her kill and cruise on Grand Theft Auto or just chat. She’s also really good at singing? Check out her take on “Toxic,” inspired by the Melanie Martinez version. Dream girl.

@papermagazine

POV: Your best friend always has something to say about the people you’re interested in… it all makes sense now. 2020 PAPER Person @angelknives13 💕

♬ original sound – papermagazine

Which dating app have you had the most luck on? How so?

TikTok! I actually met my girlfriend on there. As funny as it sounds, it really is the best way to get a feel for someone [rather] than actual apps that were made for dating in my opinion. You can get a sense of someone’s humor, vibe/ aesthetic, see them showcase exactly what they’re passionate about. It can be a very personal — yet public — video archive of your individuality and artistic expression.

If you could write the headline for your profile, what would it be?

I take popular movie/ TV romance tropes and make them gay 🙂

Where do you want to be five years from now?

I’ll be in LA hopefully getting steady work as an actor and having fun, taking part in projects that I’m passionate about and speak to me.

Which TV shows are helping you survive 2020 and why?

Killing Eve and the Harley Quinn show are my go to when I have the time to sit down and watch something. I’m in love with the passion, tension, darkness and intensity in Killing Eve. As for the Harley Quinn show, she’s one of my favorite characters of all time so it’s a show that just brings me a lot of comfort, great for when I just wanna chill.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

I’d love to have the power to teleport. I love going to new places but I hate the traveling and flying it takes to get there. Then I could see my favorite person with the snap of my fingers no matter where they may find themselves.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?

I was in a Zoom class bored out of my mind and I had my camera and mic off, so I figured I’d film a funny POV on tiktok to some sad song just for a kick. When I started filming, I failed to realize that I accidentally unmuted my mic while my teacher was going through some slides and it was fine at first. It just sounded like I was sad and opening up to everyone in class out of nowhere and apparently my teacher asked if I was okay, but I had muted my laptop’s volume at that point. I started saying inappropriate things that should not be said in a recorded Zoom class; it was 15 seconds of agony that I didn’t even know everyone was going through until one of my friends in my class started spamming my phone saying that my mic wasn’t muted. I audibly gasped with a horrified look on my face. Then after I muted myself again I had the craziest of laugh attacks. It’d been a while since I laughed that hard, oh my god.

What’s your next move if TikTok is banned?

I’m still in college majoring in acting, so I’d just focus on bettering myself and the craft. I’d probably find another platform to post things when I need an outlet like TikTok to express myself artistically. I also stream on Twitch, so I’d like to keep doing that as well.

What was your first reaction after going viral?

I was beyond shocked. I blew up with video of me as the school’s resident delinquent poking fun at and flirting with the class nerd (the audience). I couldn’t believe that people enjoyed me talking to the camera that much. It for sure felt very rewarding.

What was the last song you listened to?

“Meet Me Halfway” by the Black Eyed Peas.

What is your most irrational fear?

I’m scared of mirrors sometimes. Especially at night, I’m afraid my reflection will start moving on its own and try to kill me or that a monster will appear from the back of me or that a serial killer will come out from behind the shower curtain and murder me. Vivid imaginations aren’t so fun when they’re bored.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

PAPER People: @themanuelsantos

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

“Whoever said beautiful people can’t be funny was right!” writes Manuel Santos AKA @themanuelsantos in their TikTok bio. Then why are we laughing so hard? The London-based actor and performer is hilarious whether strutting around their bedroom like it’s a runway, giving a wardrobe tour of their treasured Zara heels or dispensing a rosé-fueled pep talk to their devoted followers (or, as they call them, “biatches”).

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 now go worship @themanuelsantos !!!

♬ original sound – papermagazine

Which pop star do you most relate to and why?

Beyoncé of course, we’re basically the same person!

If you could write the headline for your profile, what would it be?

Manuel: Extremely hot, skinny, self-centered and quite possibly narcissistic, will never love you as much as they love themselves. Perfect right!

Describe the most recent photo or video on your phone.

Manuel looks sad and desperate, their gaze is directed to their right as they glance off camera to the abyss. Are they pleading?

Where do you want to be five years from now?

On your cover.

What’s your most overused word or phrase?

Previously B*tch, but more recently Byatchesz (not the official spelling).

When was the last time you cried?

Last week, contrary to popular belief I am actually capable of experiencing sadness! Although my last cry was of happiness…

Who was your childhood hero and why?

Definitely my future self. I hadn’t met me yet, but I just knew I was going to be THE ONE. (“Jokes” aside, my mother.)

What does your star chart say about you? (Do you agree?)

A lot of things — too many things if you ask me! On the one hand I am someone very confident, opinionated and independent, but I am also consumed by my subconscious as well, so I tend to overthink and self-analyze A LOT.

If you could give $1,000,000 to any charity, what would it be and why?

1 MILLION??? Just a sec, I’m creating a charity for myself as we speak! On a real note, I would split the money and donate it to different charities that support and aid LGBTQ+ people, ESPECIALLY Black trans women! Most of the time, they are left out of the conversation or not even talked about at all, but in today’s society they are the ones who need our voice and support the most! Some charities that come to mind: For The Gworls Party, Marsha P. Johnson Institute and the Black Trans Travel Fund.

What’s your favorite TikTok sound?

My voice!

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

Chris Evans Accidentally Leaked NSFW Photos

On Saturday, Twitter was having a field day after Chris Evans, a.k.a. Captain America, a.k.a. “America’s ass” accidentally leaked some explicit photos on his Instagram Story.

He shared a screenshot of his phone’s photo gallery, and in the grid you can see what appears to be an erect penis. And fans and the people of Twitter are convinced that it’s his. Another pic shows a pic of himself with the phrase, “Guard that pussy.”

Related | Chris Pine’s Quarantine Fashions Have Fundamentally Changed Me

The Avengers actor deleted his post almost immediately, but by then it was a little too late. Numerous online users have already leaked the pics out on social media. “@ChrisEvans Bro, while Trump is in office there is NOTHING you could possibly do to embarrass yourself,” Chris’s co-star Mark Ruffalo joked. “See… silver lining.”

.@ChrisEvans Bro, while Trump is in office there is NOTHING you could possibly do to embarrass yourself. See… silver lining. — Mark Ruffalo (@Mark Ruffalo)1599963129.0

Chris’s brother Scott also tweeted on Sunday, “Was off social media for the day yesterday. So. What’d I miss?”

Was off social media for the day yesterday.

So.

What’d I miss? — Scott Evans (@Scott Evans)1600009848.0

And while multiple people are also joining in and tweeting out jokes, some fans are also asking that people stop and consider the actor’s feelings and severe anxiety. 2 Broke Girls actress Kat Dennings pointed out, “The public respect for Chris Evans’ privacy/feelings is wonderful. Wouldn’t it be nice if it extended to women when this kind of thing happens?”

The public respect for Chris Evans’ privacy/feelings is wonderful. Wouldn’t it be nice if it extended to women when… https://t.co/HvTyoBxpJP — Kat Dennings (@Kat Dennings)1600018595.0

Photo via Getty

Addison Rae Is Starring in a ’90s Movie Remake

TikTok star Addison Rae has taken her talents beyond the online platform. She has her own makeup line with Item Beauty, recently starred in Kim K’s campaign as a SKIMS model, regularly hosts a podcast with her mom, and now she’s going to be starring in a movie.

Addison is going to be playing one of the lead roles in the upcoming remake of ’90s classic romantic comedy, She’s All That. But the reboot is going to have a huge twist, which is a reversal of roles for the two main characters. According to Variety, the film’s going to be titled He’s All That And instead of playing Rachel Leigh Cook’s character Laney, she’s going to take over for Freddie Prinze Jr. as a gender-swapped Zach.

Related | Forbes List Reveals TikTok’s Top-Earning Stars

The influencer is going to be playing an influencer, like herself, named Padget who’s going to transform the nerdy boy in school, and turn him into prom king. The story will be written by the same writer who wrote the original 1999 movie, and will be produced by Miramax — which is no longer owned by the Weinstein brothers.

“This reboot is a welcomed step towards a new generation of Miramax storytelling, part of our greater strategy to leverage our existing library with fresh, re-imagined content in both film and TV,” Miramax CEO Bill Block told Variety.

Addison made the exciting announcement on her Instagram. “AHHHHH!!! My dreams are coming true!!! I’m so excited to finally share the news that i am getting the opportunity to make my acting debut in HE’S ALL THAT which is a remake of one of my all time favorite movies, SHE’S ALL THAT,” she wrote.

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“I’m so grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me and none of it would have ever happened without every single one of you. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! I can’t wait for you to see it!!!” She continued, “I can’t wait to work with this amazing team and everyone involved in making the film and am so thankful to everyone who gave me this incredible opportunity. THANK YOU!! I’m so excited for y’all to meet Padget!!!”

Photo via Getty


Fans Roast Jacob Elordi For Taking All of His Dates to the Same Spot

Jacob Elordi is catching some heat from the internet for taking all of his dates to the same place.

Recently, the star made headlines after being spotted around New York City with model Kaia Gerber. But in between trips to the gym and dressing alike, the rumored couple was also photographed at a local farmer’s market that looked suspiciously familiar to many fans.

Related | This Meme ‘Knows a Spot’ For a Bad Date

According to internet sleuths, the farmer’s market is allegedly the same one Elordi previously took both rumored romance Zendaya and ex-girlfriend Joey King to. And while some reasoned that “maybe Jacob Elordi goes to that farmers market alot to idk… buy groceries,” the vast majority of commenters couldn’t help but criticize his go-to date spot.

“Bro Jacob Elordi not only took Joey King and Cendaya to the same place but now Kaia Gerber too? HE’S SICK,” as one Twitter user responded, while another person added, “There’s something deeply wrong with Jacob Elordi.”

bro jacob elordi not only took joey king and zendaya to the same place but now kaia gerber too? HE’S SICK. pic.twitter.com/x59xHh28yt

— Nella (fan account) (@shadysmj) September 7, 2020

Meanwhile, others couldn’t help but reference the “Knows a Spot” meme to roast the actor’s apparent decision to “take you where he’s taken every girl he’s ever dated.”

jacob elordi be like “i know a spot” and take you to the same weirdass farmers market that he took all his girlfriends

— kate (@pattsvengeance) September 7, 2020

Elordi has yet to respond but, in the meantime, you can see what else people are saying about his obsession with fresh produce, below.

the farmer’s market when it sees jacob elordi rolling in with kaia gerber: pic.twitter.com/3RW5tdZoaF

— Ghezal⁷🖖₁₃ (@mrsbananaphone) September 8, 2020

the vegetables and farmers at the market watching jacob elordi bring all 3 of his girlfriends to the same place pic.twitter.com/gnzCmq6VSy

— ً (@hollandsmuse) September 8, 2020

jacob elordi really ain’t that much different from his character in kissing booth since he taking girls to the same place…… pic.twitter.com/tWP9zsRAzJ

— zendaya is my mom (@stinkbugsz) September 8, 2020

the farmers market employees when they see jacob elordi with a new girl pic.twitter.com/RPzs9xOF6G

— consuelo (@consuelohylton) September 7, 2020

Photo via Getty

Charli D’Amelio Opens Up About Her Struggle With an Eating Disorder

Charli D’Amelio is opening up about her battle with eating disorders in an effort to encourage others to seek help.

On Thursday, the TikTok superstar took to her Instagram to reveal that while she “always tried to use [her] voice when it comes to issues surrounding body image,” she’s “never talked about [her] own struggles with eating disorders.”

Related | Managing an Eating Disorder Under Quarantine Is Weird and Hard

“It’s so uncomfortable to admit to even your closest friends and family, let alone the world,” Charli continued as she explained that she’s “been afraid to share that [she has] an eating disorder” for some time now.

“But ultimately i hope that by sharing this i can help someone else,” she said. “I know eating disorders are something that so many other people are also battling behind closed doors.”

Charli then went on to apologize to any fans she’s hurt with her TikToks by “playing a song and not realizing that those lyrics could have triggered you.”

“[I] deeply and truly apologize and i hope you know that i never intended to cause you harm,” she said, before adding a link to the National Eating Disorder Association with an important message.

“For anyone struggling with this, i know some days can be worse that others, but i really hope you’ll swipe up to this link and get help if you need it,” Charli concluded. “I need you to know you are not alone. remember it’s ok to reach out and get help. we all need help sometimes. i love you all and please stay strong.”

Photo via Getty


PAPER People: @shreksdumpster

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

19-year-old TikTok creator Sarah Lugor’s handle is… @shreksdumpster. Need we say more? Whether she’s going off about how her mom won’t let her dress like a grandma or creating relatable college COVID content, she’s always on point. Lugor started out on TikTok in 2018 and became an official TikTok creator ambassador this year, complete with neon plaque memorializing her amazing handle. We can’t wait to see where she goes next.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 Say hiiii to @shreksdumpster 🤩

♬ original sound – papermagazine

What was your first reaction after going viral?

Shock, I still don’t think I have processed the idea of being an influencer and having THAT many people see you and tune into your life. It’s a surreal experience for sure.

What does your star chart say about you? (Do you agree?)

I’m a Pisces sun, Capricorn moon and Sagittarius rising. This basically says I’m a creative crybaby that has a tendency to relate to people on an emotional level. I’d like to agree; I find a lot of comfort in reading into horoscopes. It’s really fun!

Where do you want to be when the world ends?

Uhhhh, I’m not really attached to any physical places, but when it ends I’d like to be content with what I’ve accomplished and surrounded by those I love.

Who was your childhood hero?

As cheesy as it sounds, my mom. She’s been through hell and back, and continues to be loving and kind and I really admired that as a kid, still do.

What is your most irrational fear?

Being haunted by something evil. Idk the idea of being followed by something that has an upper hand on you is mad scary. Because what are you really supposed to do? Punch it???? Good luck.

What gives you hope in 2020?

The younger generation banding together to help each other out. It’s really cool to see things like crowdfunding and other group efforts to get each other support.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

Happy, organized and successful! I have a few aspirations I want to see through, like modeling, acting and making music. I hope to be able to accomplish at least one and be able to help those out around me.

What’s your most overused word or phrase?

I say “not me” or “not you” before EVERYTHING. Not me being repetitive…

What was the last song you listened to?

“No Plan” by Hozier — certified BANGER.

When was the last time you cried?

Probably today LMFAOOO. I found I feel better when I just cry when my body wants to. It’s a good release especially when I’m stressed.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

Photography: SJ Spreng

PAPER People: @punker_irl

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

Think of Syd, AKA @punker_irl, as TikTok’s Manic Panic product representative. He’s reworking the mall goth look for Gen Z and gaining millions of fans while doing it. Hit follow to watch him raise mental health awareness while recreating Just Dance routines, lip sync to everyone from Doja Cat to Lil Peep, and even single handedly save the USPS by offering a PO box for fans to send letters to and promising to write back. Sometimes in full clown makeup.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 We all want to be @punker_irl 🥺✨

♬ moment lildeath – yoogmi

What’s your favorite animal social media account to follow and why?

My favorite animal social media account is @Monkeys400 and the #MonkeyMonday because they make me happy.

What’s your go-to appetizer?

My favorite appetizer is Mozzarella sticks.

What’s your most overused word or phrase?

I use this made-up phrase that my friends and I used to say in middle school. Instead of saying, “On god,” we would say, “On baby.”

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?

I think the most embarrassing thing I’ve done is sign up for TikTok.

What does your star chart say about you? (Do you agree?)

I am a Scorpio, i have a Pisces moon and my rising sign is a Capricorn, so this means I’m very moody, I wear a “mask” when meeting or talking to people, and I have a very strong urge to solve problems and get over them as fast as I can.

What was your first reaction after going viral?

When I first went viral my only two emotions were terrified and embarrassed.

What’s your favorite TikTok sound?

My favorite one is the “asdf” audio that goes like, “Ahh I’m a muffin it’s muffin time, who wants a muffin?” — very silly, very funny.

Where do you want to be when the world ends?

When the world ends, I would like to be with my friends because I wanna be with the people who make me the happiest.

What does your (UberEats, Seamless, GrubHub, etc.) order history look like?

My order history is literally just boba and s’mores blizzards from Dairy Queen.

What was the last song you listened to?

The last song I listened to was “Francis Forever” by Mitski.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

Kemio Launches First-Ever US Collab With Freak City

24-year-old internet superstar Kemio is a force in Japanese pop culture — his fast-paced YouTube videos, signature catchphrases, heightened fashion sense and casual “storytimes” on his experiences living in America famously capture the zeitgeist. Today, he’s expanding his international presence further through his first-ever US collaboration with Los Angeles-based streetwear label Freak City.

Related | Japanese Sensation Kemio Is Taking America

Marrying Kemio’s appreciation for high fashion with Freak City’s streetwear cache, the unisex collection leans on the late ’90s and early 2000s aesthetic with intentionally oversized clothes and playful graphic illustrations. One t-shirt features an anime caricature of Kemio with baby blue hair and another boasts a colorful butterfly design at its center, while a black hoodie shimmers with dragon motifs made from crystals.




Kemio called on his close friend and model Justine Mae Biticon to pose alongside him for the collection’s campaign. Shot in Downtown LA by Creative Director Coughs, the imagery enlivens the line’s grunge aesthetic in a graffiti-covered alley with neon lights and references old-time trends through its styling components — specifically, twisted braids and butterfly-inspired makeup.

“I’m so excited to partner with Freak City on my first US Collection,” Kemio said. “I’ve always been such a big fan of their clothing and hope that my fans will love these pieces as much as I do.”

Check out the full collection on Freak City’s website, available now.

Photos courtesy of Freak City

Hype House Members Criticized For Tekashi 6ix9ine Videos

The Hype House is under intense scrutiny after recording several TikTok videos with Tekashi 6ix9ine.

Earlier this week, founder Thomas Petrou uploaded a YouTube video in which he “surprised” fellow members of the popular collective with the controversial rapper.

Related | TikToker Tony Lopez Dropped By Bliss Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations

However, given that 6ix9ine has previously pled guilty to a child sexual performance charge, it didn’t take long for the internet to criticize several Hype House members for posting content recorded with him.

“Ofc the hype house supports 6ix9ine,” as one Twitter user wrote, while others simply commented that the situation was “Yikes.”

Yikes 🥴 pic.twitter.com/9uZ0FqKBIe

— Spill Sesh (@spillseshYT) September 8, 2020

ofc the hype house supports 6ix9ine

— caleb finn 💧 (@ccalebfinn) September 9, 2020

Meanwhile, others argued that the Hype House’s co-sign was deeply problematic because of their young fanbase and the fact that 17-year-old member Avani Gregg is underage.

“The hype house hanging out with 6ix9ine is absolutely the worst thing they could ever do most of their supporters are a young audience,” as another person wrote. “Y’all supposed to set a good example for them hanging with a child molester for clout this ain’t something to flex about you’re all disgusting.”

the hype house hanging out with 6ix9ine is absolutely the worst thing they could ever do most of their supporters are a young audience y’all supposed to set a good example for them hanging with a child molester for clout this ain’t something to flex about you’re all disgusting

— esra (@vibesesra) September 9, 2020

not the hype house inviting over 6ix9ine… aren’t there underage girls there? /s

— barbie (@jaewise) September 9, 2020

In the wake of the backlash, Pop Buzz reported that Hype House members Olivia Ponton deleted her TikTok with 6ix9ine and that a video posted to the rapper’s own page featuring Ondreaz Lopez had also been removed after the influencer wrote in a comment that, “It was a TikTok his PR team wanted on his page for his personal TikTok. We ain’t even finish the full dance it was so awkward.”

That said, Hype House member Tayler Holden has kept his video up after recently defending the collab to paparazzi by saying, “He’s actually a really nice guy. Really genuine and really down to earth.”

See what else people are saying about the videos, below.

i don’t know about you, but 6ix9ine, a known pedo, going to the hype house doesn’t sit right with me.

— ً (@laheyslayer) September 9, 2020

everyone in the hype house hanging out with 6ix9ine is is disgusting and gross. y’all have children who look up to you and you’re hanging out with a man who molested children he’s a pedophile and y’all posting this on your platform for clout…

— chrishona ♡ (@vinniesstorms) September 9, 2020

WHY THE FUCK IS 6IX9INE AT THE HYPE HOUSE BYE pic.twitter.com/1e7RrAuiU3

— amelia : inactive (@sweetenqerr) September 8, 2020

ur kidding, 6ix9ine did not go to the hypehouse wtf

— tyler funke 🙂 (@TylerFunke) September 8, 2020

i have no respect for the hype house anymore. seriously like even lil buddy wasn’t there are you kidding me. it’s not the fucking hard to not care about money for an hour or 2. they all know what 6ix9ine did and they have no excuse. it’s humiliating and gross.

— laura (@laurasuxbigtime) September 9, 2020

Photo via Getty

Stop Calling Dr. Phil ‘Daddy’

Don’t call Dr. Phil “daddy.” He, seriously, doesn’t like that. He took to TikTok recently to let his 4.4 million followers know that unless you’re an immediate descendant of his, you don’t need to be calling him a word that children normally use to describe their father.

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

Dr. Phil’s brief warm message to fans had a stern undertone. “You have to stop calling me daddy on all my posts,” he said in the video, showing off a small smile. “I ain’t your daddy, I’d hate to break it to you.”

@drphil ##YouHaveTo stop calling me “daddy.” I ain’t ya daddy.
♬ you have to stop supporting trump – hannah_harpist

He continued on with a somewhat serious note for everyone saying, “Your real daddy is probably getting his feelings hurt. I appreciate your support. It’s a little weird, but I appreciate the support.”

Dr. Phil has become something of a father figure for countless people across TikTok as of recently. Whether it’s exploring the healthy ways to understand mental health to explaining exactly what a “simp” means, he’s been helping people to cope during the pandemic with his important messages.

Check out Dr. Phil’s response to being called “Daddy” up above.

Photo via BFA


PAPER People: @xowiejones

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

With makeup skills that could get her a job doing special effects on a slasher movie and a goth girl wardrobe to match, you can catch Xowie Jones lip syncing to gecs while rocking a vintage Korn t-shirt and creepers. The 21-year-old creator boasts an entire five million followers, all of them devoted to her cult of facial piercings and winged liner. Her videos will convince you to try red eyeshadow, but it probably won’t look as good.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok✨ say hi to @xowiejones 🥰

♬ Luka luka version – tsushihara

What’s your go-to appetizer?

Boneless buffalo wings 🙂

Describe the most recent photo or video on your phone.

A video of my pet rats cleaning themselves.

Which TV shows are helping you survive 2020 and why?

Lucifer! I watch it every night.

What’s your most overused word or phrase?

I use the B) emoji a lot.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

Invisibility because sometimes I just wanna peace out.

Where do you want to be when the world ends?

Going down with it.

Who’s your TikTok crush and why?

@benkro_tv because he’s my boyfriend. Gotta lock ’em down while you can.

What does your (UberEats, Seamless, GrubHub etc) order history look like?

So much Taco Bell.

What was your last text?

“u hungry?” That was to my roommate.

What was the last song you listened to?

“More Human Than Human” by White Zombie.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

PAPER People: @snarkymarky

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

Picture your high school class clown, except actually funny and also really, really internet famous. That’s Mark Gaetano, AKA @snarkymarky. The 18-year-old Toronto native has perfected the art of imitating both teachers and students in his POV clips. He’s also made significant and hilarious contributions to the ongoing Karen discourse, inspired by his experiences working at a grocery store and serving shitty customers. A study hall legend.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 now go apologize to @snarkymarky for eating during class🤬

♬ original sound – papermagazine

Which TV shows are helping you survive 2020 and why?

Big Brother is getting me through 2020! Big Brother is a live show with live feeds that you can watch 24/7. I watch them almost every day or whenever I’m bored. It definitely keeps me entertained! Outer Banks was also great too!

What was your last text?

“That’s my new!” sent to my mom, because she found my new debit card in her car. I got it two days ago. I got a new one because I lost my old one. Here we go again!

What’s something no one knows about you but you wish people did?

I actually hate being the center of attention and I am nothing like I am in my videos. People are scared of me because I scream and yell in my videos. I promise, I’m not like that! I’d consider myself to be an ambivert!

What was the last song you listened to?

“Club” by Kelsea Ballerini. I love her so much.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

I would love to get into acting, or be a correspondent on a talk show. But if my online career doesn’t last as long as that, I would love a job at the United Nations. I’m a freshman in college and I’m studying international relations! I’ve always loved learning about the world, and different cultures, so I’d love a career in that field!

In one word, how would you sum up the internet?

Out-Of-Control. If I use hyphens, that counts as one word, right?

What’s your next move if TikTok is banned?

TikTok getting banned would be… terrible. But, I would try shifting my platform onto YouTube and do some videos there. But Instagram Reels has been super amazing. It’s reached some new audiences, and I was recently just featured on it!

What is your most irrational fear?

I feel like someone is watching me at ALL times. I feel like there’s cameras and microphones picking up on my every move. It’s really strange. Maybe it’s all the Big Brother I’m watching that’s causing this fear.

What’s your go-to appetizer?

Nachos! Or mozzarella sticks. Anything cheesy!

Who was your childhood hero and why?

Hannah Montana/ Miley Cyrus. I always thought it was super cool how she was an “ordinary girl,” but had a secret side to her. She was an average high school student, but also a pop star. I wanted to be her so bad.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears


PAPER People: @iconiccpinkk

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet the 20 TikTokers We Love

On her extremely popular channel, 22-year-old Munera Fahiye AKA @iconiccpinkk shows the many advantages to wearing a hijab: you can covertly wear AirPods during class, store extra stuff in it and use it as a prop to create seamless duet videos on TikTok. Whether she’s dancing to “Money Trees” or accidentally going out to lunch during Ramadan, Munera is a must follow. She also has an amazing singing voice, even if her sister thinks it sounds like a dying mosquito.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💥 say hello to our queen @iconiccpinkk 💕

♬ Excitement TRIPPIE REDD PARTYNEXTDOOR – jeanvictorm

What’s your favorite animal social media account to follow and why?

My favorite animal account is @thatlittlepuff on Tiktok. I really love the videos on there because it’s a little cute cat cooking stuff and I am obsessed with cats.

Describe the most recent photo or video on your phone.

It’s a picture of my baby brother on his birthday. He looks so happy I love him.

Where do you want to be when the world ends?

With my family eating popcorn and watching a movie.

What gives you hope in 2020?

I love seeing this generation fight for what’s right and we are using social media to demand the changes that should’ve happened a long time ago.

What was your first reaction after going viral?

It was exciting and scary at the same time. I was getting so many nice comments and it was heartwarming to see. A lot of people from my school started recognizing me from my videos and that was also really cool.

What was your last text?

It’s a text to my brother asking him to get me some taco bell.

In one word, how would you sum up the internet?

Wild.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

The ability to fly. When I was a kid I would take random objects and turn them into wings because I always wanted to fly for some reason.

What’s your most overused word or phrase?

I feel like I say “it is what it is” a lot because if something happens that I have no control over I just let it go and forget about it.

Describe your best night in this quarantine.

It’s having fun with my sisters and playing video games.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin

PAPER People: @ladyefron

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet the 20 TikTokers We Love

Gather around, because Brooke Averick AKA @ladyefron (yes, as in Zac Efron’s wannabe wife) is the master of storytime. Whether she’s narrating the incidentals of her daily life, recalling a deeply embarrassing (or it would be, to most people) middle school moment or straight up reading from her 2009 diary, you’ll want to hear literally everything the 24-year-old creator has to say. Her comic timing is impeccable, her sense of shame nonexistent and her messages to her haters unapologetic. Dig deep for the Bar Mitzvah content, it’s worth it.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💥 Tip your fedoras to @ladyefron 💕💕

♬ original sound – papermagazine

What’s your favorite animal social media account to follow and why?

Definitely @wolfgang2242. It’s run by a guy named Steve who exclusively adopts senior dogs (he also has a pig, chicken and turkey) and finally gives them their forever home. Follow at your own risk because every time one of the dogs dies I can’t get out of bed for a week.

What’s your go-to appetizer?

Chips and guac every time.

Describe the most recent photo or video on your phone.

The last photo on my phone is a screenshot from Google of Pauly D from Jersey Shore without hair gel.

Which TV shows are helping you survive 2020 and why?

New Girl and The Office. I’ve seen them each over 10 times all the way through, but they’re a huge source of comfort for me which is what we all need in 2020.

When was the last time you cried?

Honestly 10 minutes ago when my Chipotle was delivered and they forgot the guac.

If you could give $1,000,000 to any charity, what would it be and why?

I’d donate all the money to different teachers and schools. Having been a preschool teacher for two years, I know how hard teachers work and how little they get in return.

What’s your next move if TikTok is banned?

I’ll restart The Office and New Girl.

What was your first reaction after going viral?

I quit my job. Hindsight’s always 20/20.

What’s one thing you’d change about TikTok?

Not being able to edit captions after you post. 90% of my posts are riddled with typos.

What’s the worst zodiac sign?

I’ve never met a mentally stable Gemini. Let the records show that I’m a Gemini.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin

PAPER People: @LaetitiaKy

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok✨ Say hello to @laetitiaky 🔥

♬ kimset by xix – ir1miku

Working with her own locs as a sculptural medium, artist Laetitia Ky is the face of a veritable Black hair movement. Whether she’s commenting on anti-abortion laws by shaping her hair into fallopian tubes or giving in to TikTok fan pressure and creating Shrek-themed hair art (complete with Smashmouth backing track), this 24-year-old from the Ivory Coast quite literally wears the crown.

Which pop star do you most relate to and why?

Definitely Rihanna! I think I am one of her biggest fans. I relate to her firstly because of how she went from nothing to everything. Also, she is extremely polyvalent: She sings, she acts, she dances, she is a business woman and she is engaged in a lot of humanitarian causes. I also love the fact that she is true to herself. She doesn’t try to censor her voice when she expresses herself just to please others. She says what she has to say and stands by that, just like I would. I relate to so many aspects of her personality. She is the queen and I aspire to accomplish in life things on the same scale as what she accomplished.

What’s your go-to appetizer?

Cashew nuts. I am obsessed with cashew nuts.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

In five years I hope I would be described as a supermodel. I also hope I start my acting career — that is very important to my heart. For my art, I want to be represented by some art gallery and I also hope in five years I will do things I can’t even imagine I could do now. I love when life throws surprising things at me and I am ready to jump on every interesting opportunity that will come, even if it is not in my industry.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

Power of persuasion! Someone with that power would have the biggest influence ever. I would surely convince some leader of this world to suppress all the oppressive laws toward women. I would end so many bad things happening right now.

If you could give $1,000,000 to any charity, what would it be and why?

I will give it to 28 Too Many. It is an association who fights against female genital mutilation (FGM) in Africa! I think FGM is an extremely inhuman practice that needs to be eradicated.

What’s your next move if TikTok is banned?

Just continue to post on other social media. I am actually working on some project that will help me to move my presence from social media to a more physical place. Social media is amazing, but i don’t want to be dependent on it.

What’s one thing you’d change about TikTok?

Maybe fix the robot who deletes videos that violate the community guideline. More than 10 videos of me just doing my hair were deleted for no reason and it can be hard sometimes to see your long work being deleted like that.

What’s the worst zodiac sign?

Libra 😂😂😂😂

Where do you want to be when the world ends?

The place doesn’t matter as long as I am with my mom and little sister.

Who’s your TikTok crush?

Myself! “If you don’t love yourself how the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I have an AMEN up in here?” More seriously: I just have too many TikTok crushes to choose one.

What was the last song you listened to?

“Joro” from WizKid.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)

Styling: Erika Golcher

Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin

PAPER People: @thereal_tati

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok✨ Bow down to @thereal_tati 😤

♬ STAN LIZ SANCHEZ 4 CLEAR SKIN RNNNNN – officiallizsanchez

Tati Tots, assemble! Tatayanna Mitchell, AKA @thereal_tati, is here. One half of TikTok’s most shipped couple, bonnet-wearing master of the duet and food influencer during her downtime, the 21-year-old from Michigan is an essential follow for her prolific comedic posts. We still don’t know what happened with her rumored boyfriend Devin, but will keep you updated. In the meantime, let’s watch her hang out with another fav, @snarkymarky.

What’s your go-to appetizer?

Honey BBQ boneless wings with ranch.

When was the last time you cried?

I cry all that time [laughs] whether it’s an emotional cry, happy cry, or me crying from laughing.

What’s the most overused phrase or word?

“It’s the *blank* for me” and “Chile” [laughs] I say both, everyone wears those sayings out.

What was the last song you listened to?

“Excitement” by Trippie Redd and PARTYNEXTDOOR.

What was your first reaction after going viral?

I was extremely excited and overwhelmed because I didn’t know what was next.

What’s the worst zodiac sign?

Although I’m not into astrology that much, I’ll have to say Gemini because of the personal experiences I’ve had with them.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

I want to be happy in my lovely home, owning three businesses and be able to bless my parents with a home.

What’s your next move if TikTok is banned?

I will move my platform to YouTube and grow my channel just how I grew my TikTok — maybe not as fast, but I will get there.

One word to describe the internet?

Powerful.

If you could describe the headline of your profile, what would it be?

“I just want to spend the rest of my life laughing.”

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin

Tana Mongeau Faces Backlash For ‘Robotic’ Apology Video

Tana Mongeau is coming under fire for her latest apology video.

Last Friday, the controversial YouTuber uploaded a new vlog called “a long overdue apology,” in which she talked about the many mistakes she’s made and her prior lack of accountability.

Related | Tana Mongeau Responds to Racial Slur Accusations

“I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for being such a big part of cancel culture for the entirety of my career,” Mongeau said. “I don’t deserve a platform if I continue to act in such a gas-lighting and irresponsible manner, and I’m so sorry for how long I’ve done that.”

She then went on to “express my utter disgust with every single apology video I ever made,” before apologizing and vowing to not return to YouTube until she becomes “someone that can shape youth in far better ways.” Additionally, Mongeau specifically apologized for recently attending a party against social distancing guidelines, as well as accusations of racist microaggressions leveled at her by YouTubers Kahlen Barry and SimplyNessa.

“There is no excuse for the amount of time it took me,” she said, later adding that she plans to donate to the NAACP, Feeding America and Pandemic Of Love.

“But I was so stuck in my narcissistic, egotistical ways that I was convinced I was a good person and I had nothing to learn.”

However, as Metro UK reports, Mongeau’s video apparently isn’t going over well with commenters, many of whom have accused the star of being disingenuous and reading off of a script.

“This sounds so robotic, it’s clearly been written these are not her words, alongside this there are SO many cuts in this too, you can tell it’s not sincere,” as one person wrote. Meanwhile, others pointed out that, ‘”I’m sorry if you feel like I hurt you” is not an apology btw.'”

“It feels like ….. you just don’t even care? What is wrong with you?,” another commenter added.

In the wake of the backlash, Mongeau reportedly addressed the criticism in her Instagram Stories by saying that the video wasn’t scripted.

“I just want to let you know that I am taking in everything everyone is saying, and will be making a response,” she said. “A lot of people are really coming for me for being so emotionless and just kind of talking, saying it’s a script or whatever, but I was just scared to cry. At the end of the day, if you’re crying, if you’re freaking out in an apology video, people are going to be so much more angry for that.”

Watch Mongeau’s apology video for yourself, below.

Photo via Getty

#MilkTeaAlliance Calls for a ‘Mulan’ Boycott

Since last summer, pro-Hong Kong democracy activists have already been calling for the boycott of Disney’s Mulan live action remake. This was after lead actress Liu Yifei made pro-Hong Kong police comments during an interview. And now that the film has premiered in multiple countries including the U.S., more Asian activists are using the hashtag #milkteaalliance to call for people to once again boycott the film.

Last year, people showed that Liu reposted a comment from government-run People’s Daily newspaper on Wribo, and wrote in Chinese, “I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now.” She also said, “What a shame for Hong Kong,” and added the hashtag #IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice.

Chinese actress Liu Yifei, star of upcoming Disney blockbuster Mulan, shows support for Hong Kong police on Weibo,… https://t.co/MCPwBHhlfm — Vivienne Chow (@Vivienne Chow)1565880042.0

Related | ‘Mulan’ Star’s Pro-Hong Kong Police Post Sparks Boycott

Critics denounced this, saying that the actress was supporting police brutality. She hasn’t directly responded to these criticisms, but in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year. she said, “It would really be a loss for me if I let the pressure overtake my possibilities … I think it’s obviously a very complicated situation and I’m not an expert. I just really hope this gets resolved soon … I think it’s just a very sensitive situation.”

As the film rolls out in Thailand, #milkteaalliance began to trend online. The hashtag signifies the shared love for milk tea or bubble tea in Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, which is where the majority of protesters voicing their support for the boycott are coming from.

#Milkteaalliance was first used when some Chinese nationalists online were attacking a Thai celebrity who allegedly expressed Hong Kong and Taiwan’s independence.

Photo via Getty

George Washington University Professor Pretended to be Black for Years

Years after Rachel Dolezal made headlines, a university professor has come out and admitted that she’s been pretending to be Black for years.

Jessica Krug, an associate professor at George Washington University — whose areas of expertise are Africa, Latin America and African American history — wrote a confession on Medium entitled “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies.” She wrote, “To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness.”

Related | Rihanna Says Rachel Dolezal is “a Bit of a Hero”

In the post, she mentioned that her mental health might be a factor in her actions throughout her adult life. “But mental health issues can never, will never, neither explain nor justify, neither condone nor excuse, that, in spite of knowing and regularly critiquing any and every non-Black person who appropriates from Black people, my false identity was crafted entirely from the fabric of Black lives,” she continued. “That I claimed belonging with living people and ancestors to whom and for whom my being is always a threat at best and a death sentence at worst.”

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“I have lived this lie, fully, completely, with no exit plan or strategy,” she wrote. “I have built only this life, a life within which I have operated with a radical sense of ethics, of right and wrong, and with rage, rooted in Black power, an ideology which every person should support, but to which I have no possible claim as my own.”

She ended her post, saying, “There is no way for me to satisfactorily end this statement. This isn’t a confession, it isn’t a public relations move, and it damn sure isn’t a shield. It is the truth, though.”

Krug has since been suspended by the school. And students and staff members who have been affected by her actions have been offered counseling. “We want to acknowledge the pain this situation has caused for many in our community and recognize that many students, faculty, staff and alumni are hurting,” authorities from Gearge Washington U said. “Please know that we are taking this situation seriously and are here to support our community.”

Photo via Getty

Livestream This: A. G. Cook’s Appleville

Thanks to Ms. Rona, we’re all trapped at home with nothing to do. Even Netflix is getting boring! But never fear. While they’re technically out of work, our favorite entertainers are still out here bravely making virtual content in a scary new world. Going to the club or the theater is out of the question right now (self isolate! Ariana Grande says so) but here’s PAPER’s ongoing guide to the latest livestreams — featuring comedians, actors, musicians and more.

Who? Ahead of the release of his second debut album, Apple, artist, producer and PC Music label head, A. G. Cook, is putting together a virtual livestream event featuring performances from Charli XCX, 100 gecs, Clairo, Amnesia Scanner, Jimmy Edgar, Dorian Electra, Hannah Diamond, Kero Kero Bonito and more. The concert will also feature the winner of Cook’s Appleguild Battle of the Band competition currently being held on discord.

When? It all goes down September 12 and is free to watch but fans will have the option to purchase a Golden Ticket through Bandcamp that will grant them access to the mosh pit, select recordings of concert and exclusive bonus music including a bagpipe-heavy remix of “Oh Yeah” by Caroline Polachek. All proceeds from Golden Ticket sales will go to Mermaids and the Black Cultural Archives.

Appleville 🍏 September 12th 💚 Livestream curated by @agcook404 🍏 Free to watch, but get a Golden Ticket to access m… https://t.co/XMu0ZWvoMD — PC Music (@PC Music)1599148891.0

Related | Every Track on A. G. Cook’s ‘7G’ in Seven Words or Less

Why Watch? Fresh off the release of a monster 49-track album, A. G. Cook has wasted no time in dropping yet another debut album on us with the highly anticipated, Apple. Having previously shared the stripped back singer-songwriter single, “Oh Yeah,” off the forthcoming effort Cook has paired the announcement with the maximalist hyper-EDM Trap followup “Xxoplex” proving once again that one of the past decade’s most influential producers still has what it takes to keep us on our toes.

From Pop Cube to Pop City, PC Music has had a history of putting together ultra-polished live shows that pull out all the stops and even though it may be a livestream, Appleville is no exception. Not only does the show boast an impressive lineup of Cook’s usual circle of friends and collaborators, but you can bet that everyone will be bringing slick visuals and surprises to the mix too. Cook describes the show as “a tribute to live computer music in all its forms. A pastoral escape in the comfort of your own home, an infinite green field where you can sit back and watch some of your favorite musicians grapple with the limitations of time and space.”

Photo Courtesy of A. G. Cook/ PC Music

Performing For a Virtual Audience Isn’t Easy

Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger has predicted that live concerts as we know them won’t be back until 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic and its fallout. It’s simply not safe to gather in large groups, unless you’re doing a drive-in concert, and the music industry has been working desperately to figure out the best way to cope with this undeniable fact. Virtual shows have become a makeshift replacement for in-person shows thanks to companies like MelodyVR, which has worked with artists like Kesha and Khalid, and Live Nation, whose latest concerts center around Megan Thee Stallion and Lil Uzi Vert. They’re the evolution of all those slightly janky Instagram Live performances that were important during the beginning of the pandemic.

With this new virtual frontier becoming the regular, fans are getting used to seeing artists come aboard, perhaps assuming that performing for a digital audience is similar to performing for a real-life one. But speaking with artists shows that the process of putting on a virtual concert is a lot different, for better and for worse.

Related | 17 People in Music Tell Us How the Industry Is Coping

In April, R&B legends Teddy Riley and Babyface faced off in an epic Verzuz battle on Instagram Live. It was a massive moment for virtual performances that became a hilarious highlight of the new era, thanks to a slew of technical difficulties that made the show start later than usual. Talk about epic. The jokes about them being uncles “using technology for the first time” made their performance much different than what it initially was pegged to be. While it worked in favor of these two particular artists, with their performed songs receiving a 115% increase in streaming following the battle, these kinds of technical issues can cause a headache for others getting into the digital space for the first time.

Musical sensation DDG, who’s signed to Epic Records and plans on performing virtually very soon, says that he prefers live shows so that he can engage with fans, revealing that the “technical components” of these performances have surprised him. “I think we’ve realized that these kinds of shows definitely require some amazing wifi connections.”

But even though he hasn’t put on a digital show yet, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working to connect with fans. “There’s definitely pressure to put on a show, but I’m releasing new music that’s rolling out left and right,” he says. “I’ve been working to drop music videos more frequently to keep my fans entertained.”

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Virtual shows carry another difference that performers are taking note of:; that feeling of being alone, since the room isn’t filled with screaming fans. “We literally went from full-on engaging with crowds to looking at the air and performing to camera men — it’s definitely weird,” says Lyrica Anderson, a singer who’s co-written for Beyoncé and worked with both Timbaland and Jennifer Lopez, and recently released her fourth studio album, Bad Hair Day. “At a live show, you can always feel the energy of the crowd, and the love you need from them is always nice to get you hype on stage.With virtual shows, you’re performing to the people recording, where they are usually far away and it’s definitely not the same.”

Anderson, who’s performing a live virtual concert on September 18, can’t wait to get back to physical shows.”Not seeing people literally makes me sad,” she says. “The people that you’re performing for give you life and energy.” But even though she’s anxious to play for real people, she’s not in a rush to do so with the pandemic in full swing. “It’s way too risky to perform in person right now, so I’ll settle for this,” she says.

Rock band Portugal. The Man, currently performing for Tito’s Made To Order virtual festival that occurs until October 8, aren’t as opposed to the virtual shows as other artists. “It’s not as different as you might think,” says band member Eric Howk. “We just try to be ourselves on stage, so doing it on camera versus doing it before a crowd feels roughly the same. We do miss the big, loud audiences, but being able to play in such a beautiful spot feels just as spectacular as a sold-out arena.”

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Don’t get it twisted though — it’s still nerve-racking doing a virtual show, but Portugal. The Man don’t see that as a new thing. . “Every show is equally terrifying,” says Howk. “If it isn’t, you’re not doing it right.” There is a clear difference in the two performance types that causes them the most stress. “In a real show with a big crowd, it’s harder to hear the accidents,” says Howk.

Regardless of whether it’s a show in front of a screen or facing real people, what doesn’t change is the onset of nerves that musicians get. This is something that Anderson can attest to personally as she prepares for her virtual concert. “Performance anxiety happens regardless if you’re performing for one person or 1,000,” she says. “Everyone gets nervous, no matter how long you’ve been doing this/ Butterflies are always going to kick in before hitting the stage, but, once you’re there, your natural instincts just takeover.

Photo via Freepik

TikTok Star Bryce Hall Accused of Assaulting Two Minors

Though Bryce Hall is already facing potential jail time for throwing house parties against social distancing guidelines, according to another influencer, he could also be in even more legal trouble for an unrelated incident.

This past weekend, former Vine star and YouTuber Taylor Caniff claimed that Hall has “got a couple of lawsuits definitely coming his way” after an alleged assault against two minors.

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“We’re cool now, but obviously, the kid’s gotta watch what he’s doing,” Caniff told the paparazzi during an impromptu video interview.

“[He was] punching some little kids in the face and shit,” Caniff continued to allege. “I can’t say the kid’s name, but it’s gonna be out there. He punched a very young kid with a very wealthy family in the face.”

Hall has yet to respond to the accusations. In the meantime though, you can watch Caniff’s interview, below.

Photo via Getty