Shabazz Ali is a chemistry teacher who gained 1.5 million followers on TikTok by mocking the rich.
Ali has seen poverty in schools and wants influencers to be “more responsible” in the recession.
He said influencer culture is “dying” because people don’t want to see wealth flaunted online.
Shabazz Ali is a TikToker who gained 1.5 million followers by making fun of rich people.
Ali, who goes by the name ‘Shabaz Says’ on social media, may have appeared on your TikTok feed, lying in bed, wearing colorful hoodies and insulting viewers for being a ‘povvo’ – British slang for someone who is poor.
His audience knows him as “the CEO of ‘I’m Rich, You’re Poor,'” a series of videos in which Ali satirizes the luxurious lifestyles some people share online. Its purpose is to show how cut off they are from the millions of people suffering from price gouging.
Ali’s videos might show him reacting in horror to an influencer buying a $550 Gucci dog collar, or another claiming to spend $2,000 a month on designer glass water bottles from Norway.
The self-described “Robin Hood” is actually a 30-year-old high school chemistry teacher from Blackburn in northern England, who spoke to Insider during a break in the school day.
“Just before the ban, one of my students said, ‘Oh my God, sir, you should download this TikTok app, it’s really funny and you’ll love it,'” he said. “During the lockdown, we didn’t have anything else to do, so it just turned into something where I recorded videos.”
After appearing on a reality TV show called ‘The Circle’ in 2021, Ali decided to put more effort into her social media accounts, especially TikTok. His laid-back style earned him almost 500,000 followers by 2022, but it wasn’t until he started responding to rich people that the number jumped over the 1 million mark.
“It started with the idea that as a rich person you have so much time that you can go out there and make 17 different flavors of ice because you don’t have to go to work, you won’t have a job,” he said.
“I think we need to be more responsible, especially in the current climate. Don’t be so deaf. In the cost of living crisis, there are people without any food, and then there are people who overindulge.’
Ali saw students suffering from poverty in the schools where he taught
Ali’s videos are partly inspired by his experience as a teacher and seeing the effects of government spending cuts on students.
“I worked at a school in Bolton and it was an absolute deficit. Some of the children were not fed,” he said, adding that some would not get a hot meal over the weekend.
Ali disliked the focus on influencers on apps like Instagram and felt that TikTok was the right place to address such issues in a more comedic way.
In one video, he reacted to a woman who paid £70 ($82) for designer cookies from Dior.
Ali’s fans even include figures such as singer Lily Allen – and some have offered to pay him to promote their lifestyle on his page.
“The Age of Influencers is Gone”
Ali’s videos reflect a feeling among some that influencers are losing their power with audiences.
Some have taken to ‘de-influence’ or questioning the hype around cult products in an attempt to appear more authentic and credible.
“The age of the influencer is on its way out,” Ali said. “We don’t want to sit there bombarded with images of beautiful people doing beautiful things with their beautiful money.”
He has no plans to become an influencer himself and won’t be leaving his teaching job anytime soon. Although he received 177 million views on TikTok in December, he says he only earned £28 ($33.)
Ali is now exploring more lucrative social media platforms where he says he is already making more money.
Read the original article on Business Insider