Khaby Lame, the king of TikTok, now also holds the title of Italian. According to the local authorities, the 22-year-old influencer took his oath of citizenship on Wednesday in Chiavasso, a municipality outside of Turin.
He is the most well-known TikToker with 148 million followers.
When Lame was a little child, his family moved to Italy from Senegal.
However, because of tight Italian citizenship requirements, Lame was only recently given citizenship.
Following Lame’s rise to the position of most-followed TikTok creator in June, his situation along with those of thousands of other young people who were born in Italy or raised there by non-Italians made headlines.
The focus on “Italy’s TikTok king” made it clear that he wasn’t really an Italian.
In response, Lame’s citizenship application was just approved, according to a tweet from Italy’s deputy interior minister on June 24.
“Dear @KhabyLame, I wanted to let you know that the decree granting you #Italiancitizenship was issued in early June by the Interior Ministry. Soon you will be contacted by the local office notifying you about your oath. Good luck,” Sibilia tweeted.
The assurances showed that Lame’s application had gone through the conventional channels and haven’t really received special treatment because of his recent TikTok stardom.
A law that critics claim discriminates against thousands of youngsters who are culturally Italian but are denied citizenship allows children born to non-Italians and raised in Italy to seek for citizenship in their 18th year.
According to critics, the regulation prevents assimilation and makes some kids stateless. Italian legislators on the center-left frequently want to alter the laws to confer citizenship early.
For instance, children born in the United States acquire American citizenship regardless of the nationality of their parents.
However, the right-wing in Italy has long claimed that citizenship should only be passed down through Italian bloodlines.
The most recent plan called for granting applications to children of immigrants who were born in Italy or arrived before turning 12 after they had attended school there for at least five years.
Lame was asked what had changed by the Chiavasso municipal hall after they had filmed the little ceremony during which he became an Italian.
“It is not that before, before signing, I didn’t feel Italian, so very little has changed,” Lame said. “But now I am officially Italian, on paper.”
Lame became famous on TikTok by posting endearing videos of his nonverbal reactions to daily life.
After being fired from his manufacturing job during the pandemic, he used the extra time to create and upload more videos. As a result, his fan base increased.
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When asked how his life had changed from being poor as a child to becoming famous around the world, Lame responded that his family had been poor but happy back then.
“It’s another reality, it’s completely another world, which I am still not used to, but I am gradually adapting,” he said.