Do you consider yourself culturally literate? Up on the latest trends and fashions, personalities and events? Let’s find out. Tell me if you can name this person:
She is ranked 34th on the list of the world’s top 50 influencers across social media platforms and is the youngest on the list.
She made her feature film debut in 2020 and will star in an upcoming Hulu docuseries. Other upcoming projects include a book, podcast, nail polish collection and a makeup line.
She appeared in a 2020 Super Bowl commercial.
Dunkin’ created a limited-time drink dedicated to her.
She designed a limited-edition fleece sweatshirt for Hollister.
She starred in a Jennifer Lopez music video.
She appeared on both the Forbes “30 Under 30” list and on Fortune’s “40 Under 40” list in 2020. She was the youngest person ever to appear on Fortune’s list.
Grasping for a handle on the moment due to being a bit clueless? It’s okay. You aren’t alone. At least, if your cultural literacy is limited to certain demographics—namely, your own. But let’s say you broaden your cultural horizons to include, say, Generation Z. Then you wouldn’t be so lost.
Why? Because the person in question is considered TikTok’s biggest star (a favored platform among Gen Zers). She is the first person to earn both 50 million and 100 million followers on the platform. She later earned a Guinness World Record for the most TikTok followers in the world.
Her name is Charli D’Amelio and she is only 17 years old.
Now, before you dismiss this as unimportant, think again. As I wrote in my book Meet Generation Z:
“Drop everything and start paying attention to Generation Z, who now constitute 25.9% of the U.S. population. That’s more than Millennials (24.5%). That’s more than Gen X (15.4%). Yes, that’s even more than Baby Boomers (23.6%). By 2020, they will account for 40% of all consumers. Generation Z will not simply influence American culture, as any generation would, they will constitute its culture.”
In other words, Charli and her followers are the future of your church.
You might want to know her name.
James Emery White
Omri Wallach, “The World’s Top 50 Influencers Across Social Media Platforms,” Visual Capitalist, May 14, 2021, read online.
“Charli D'Amelio,” Wikipedia, read online.
James Emery White, Meet Generation Z (Baker), get the book here.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book After “I Believe” is now available on Amazon or your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.