Evolving with social media is no small feat, yet Rickey Thompson and Denzel Dion have made it look easy.
The online world has watched the two influencers and best friends grow up from six-second Vines to becoming YouTubers — because before TikTok, YouTube was where a class of Black content creators entered the space and took the Internet by storm.
And things were clearly just beginning, as Thompson and Dion seemingly went on to make even bigger moves in the entertainment industry.
In my opinion, their success is marked as wins, especially when up against not being awarded the same level of opportunities as their white counterparts. However, the two have stayed ten toes down in the game for nearly a decade — even though the way Black content creators get treated hasn’t really improved much. Take, for example, how Black TikTokers are the creative masterminds behind some of the biggest trends on the platform, but still, Forbes’ list of the highest TikTok earners featured no Black creators on the platform, AfroTech previously shared.
The act of having their work profited off of and not seeing the coins to match is a tale as old as time, but Thompson and Dion are examples of Black influencers that have taken the industry’s hits and persisted to create their own lanes to stardom.
Let’s take a look at Thompson and Dion’s social media evolution and how the dynamic duo have stayed booked and busy.
Where It All Started
Vine — launched in 2013 and officially defunct by 2017 — was the birthplace for Thompson and Dion’s acclaimed Internet fame where their comedic videos garnered millions of views.
“I just randomly thought of ideas, like, ‘What if I said this in the video? Maybe somebody will understand,’” Thompson told Nylon. “And every single time I made a video, people were like, ‘Oh my God. That is so me! I relate to that!’”
The transition to YouTube — 2013 for Dion and 2014 for Thompson — drew in even more millions of followers. The success they experienced online in what appeared to be such a short amount of time could be seen as a foreshadowing of them later dominating social media for the longhaul.
Rickey And Denzel's Endeavors
Fast-forwarding to now, Thompson and Dion have kept their audiences laughing with their videos on Instagram and TikTok.
In 2020, their longevity on the socials landed them a Snap Original series “Road Trippin'” and a deal with Spotify for their podcast, “We Said What We Said.”
“We’ve always wanted a podcast — a lot of people have been asking,” Dion shared with Paper. “I guess people just like hearing us talk and they wish there was more, and 30 minutes of audio, works better than 30 minutes of video and audio. You can listen to a podcast while working out, cleaning, cooking.”
The working besties are a force when they’re together, but they also each have their own individual wins in addition to their shared ventures.
Thompson has worked with brands like Coach, M·A·C Cosmetics, and artists including Katy Perry, Aminé, and Victoria Monét.
On the other hand, Dion launched NOID, his inclusive clothing line, which now has its own official headquarters.
Influencing Upcoming Black Influencers
Thompson and Dion’s social media presence over the years has broken new ground for today’s Black content creators.
The social media stars’ courage to unapologetically be their authentic selves for the masses to see has led to opening the door for others to do the same.
During Black History Month and beyond, Black content creators deserve their flowers for how they’ve helped shape the social media landscape. And, Rickey Thompson and Denzel Dion are names that should be praised at the top of the list.