Best of 2023: Observer Online’s top 10 social media personalities
For many Jamaicans, 2023 was a tough year underscored by economic and social challenges, most notably cost of living pressures and crime. But, thankfully, there were people who put our minds at ease by keeping us laughing and entertained through their vlogs, podcasts and posts on different social media platforms which continue to have a substantial impact on our daily lives.
The social media personalities and content creators welcomed us into their homes and lives including on their vacations and trips overseas and locally, and we in turn boosted their follower counts and viewed their lives on Instagram and sent gifts on TikTok.
As we review the year, Observer Online sought to highlight some of the social media personalities who stood out in 2023.
So here are Observer Online’s top 10 social media personalities of 2023.
Jhaedee ‘Jaii Frais’ Richards
Jaii Frais has gained much success over the past year and has moved from the number four spot on our 2022 list to number one. The vlogger began connecting with viewers through comedy on YouTube, but his follower count exploded with his first podcast series, ‘Let’s Be Honest’, where he talks to entertainers and other public figures on topical subjects. He followed this success with the ‘Toxic Talk’ podcast where popular personalities share their experiences with toxicity. Clips from ‘Toxic Talk’ go viral on social media weekly, which is not a surprise as there are over 100,000 views on each video posted. In his way of giving back, the vlogger recently donated $2 million to Rollington Town Primary School and an additional $150,000 to a teacher at the institution.
Tonya ‘Tontravels’ Williams
After winning season 2 of social media personality competition Social House, Tontravels is back in her travel bag visiting Panama, Colombia and Peru, as well as a myriad of places in Jamaica. From her viral and meme-worthy trips and falls on the Social House, the influencer has launched her ‘Ton Trips’ line with bucket hats and passport holders. To take her platform a step further, Tontravels launched a new podcast called ‘Ton Talks- The Happy Hour’ where she will discuss “new and interesting topics with a few friends over a drink”. The first episode of the podcast is slated to take place on December 28, 2023.
Christina ‘Dancing Rebel’ Nelson
Christina Nelson, popularly known as ‘Dancing Rebel’ or simply ‘Rebel’, has been a fixture in dancehall since emerging on the scene as a ‘Team Spice’ dancer, but has seen her popularity skyrocket as a social media influencer creating viral dance challenges. It can be argued that she helped to make ‘Rum Behaviour’ by dancehall artiste Kraff popular from the dance she choreographed to his song. She has also caused ‘Chakka’ by Jquan to go viral with another dance challenge which a number of dance groups have taken on. Rebel was also a contestant on Social House, and was a favourite among viewers. She is signed to the Romeich Entertainment management team, and is a Digicel brand ambassador who features in the communication company’s ‘Christmas is a 10’ promotion.
Rohan ‘Quite Perry’ Perry
A mainstay on the local social media scene, Quite Perry started out doing comedic skits for his fans. His skits usually went viral, which rapidly grew his follower count. He then branched off into making vlogs on YouTube and collaborated with other social media personalities. As his followers grew, Quite Perry’s success blossomed into hosting gigs, appearances and even a clothing line. He was also a contestant on the The Social House for two seasons and while he did not win, he was named among the audience favourites. His fame has also grown on TikTok where he hosts battles with other content creators. He recently ended his Social Media Responsibility Tour where he visited high schools across Jamaica and with the help of other social media content creators, shared tips on being conscious of what is posted on social media.
Walk and Talk
Promoter Walk and Talk blew up on social media after his interview on Jaii Frais’ ‘Toxic Talk’ went viral, and became known for his no-holds-barred criticism of dancehall artistes and the industry, and his own toxic behaviour in relationships. He has gone on to do other interviews with this same vigour, including repeat visits to Toxic Talk where the promoter continues to spill the tea.
Tami Chin-Mitchell and Wayne Mitchell – ‘Meet The Mitchells’
Our number one social media personality last year, the Mitchells remain on the list with their hit show ‘Meet the Mitchells’, which follows the lives of Tami Chin and Wayne Mitchell, their sons (Jax, Atlas and Oz), daughter Ivy Arrow, Wayne’s older son Gio and ‘MoMo’ the nanny, with other family members being featured occasionally. Tami Chin and Wayne were beloved from their days in the music industry, before launching their YouTube channel which now has 248,000 subscribers. The relatable family content posted on their YouTube platforms usually engages viewers, but now they can be seen even more as Tami is now a host on the revamped morning show CVM@Sunrise while Wayne is a host on a CVM television original show ‘The Cut’ which takes place on the set of a barber shop and men come together to discuss relevant issues and topics.
Hauto, Swiss Lee and World Dawg
The trio began their journey separately on social media as comedians doing skits. Swiss Lee and World Dawg were casted on the television reality series, 876rommates, and, since the series ended, they have connected with fellow comedian Hauto. While they each have their own platforms, the trio have had followers in fits of laughter with their collaborative comedic skits and dance challenges where they are usually dressed in costumes. They are also known for hosting TikTok battles with other content creators on the platform.
Tanaania Tracey has made it from our honourable mentions list to our number eight spot as the ‘Queen of Taps and Roses’. Tracey tapped into her influence on TikTok, hosting battles and having viewers sending roses and lions. Tracey also welcomes her 168,000 YouTube subscribers into her everyday life, trips and collaborations with other content creators through her vlogs on the platform. She has also had partnerships with various brands and businesses, the most recent of which are Pizza Hut, the National Family Planning Board and Uber.
Dale Elliott Jr
Dale Elliott Jr first entered the scene on YouTube and other social media platforms with comedic skits. He soon launched the Buss Ears Podcast where he gives tips on a variety of topics including finances and migration, explores topical issues and hosts other popular personalities. Elliott is also an actor with a lead role in ‘Sprinter’ where he plays Akeem Sharp, the next sprint sensation in Jamaica. Now a resident in the United States, Elliott has embarked on a comedy tour called Problem Child- Bad Pickney Tour, but is still doing skits, often embodying his Jamaican mother.
Rameish Desouza became well-known on social media with experimental dishes that piqued the interest of viewers. As his popularity grew, Desouza earned collaborations with brands including Red Stripe and JP Farms. The self-taught chef soon opened a restaurant in downtown Kingston where people could purchase and enjoy the chef’s unorthodox meals as seen on his social media pages. However, the restaurant soon shuttered its doors, but that has not stopped Desouza from creating dishes that tend to go viral. In recent times, he has posted videos of unconventional meals and drinks including chicken punch, curried banana tree, yam and banana punch and chicken donuts.
To round out our list of top social media personalities, here are some honourable mentions whose popularity has begun to grow, and those stalwarts who have remained influential: Evert ‘Evy Royal’ Johnson, Russhaine ‘Dutty Berry’ Berry, Kaka Highflames and the Highflames dance crew and Rushane ‘Rushcam’ Campbell.