Quarantining at an AirBnB down the street from his 94-year-old mother in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn., Jordan gained almost 4 million Instagram followers in a little over a month, becoming “America’s best coronavirus Instagram celebrity,” according to NBC, who pointed out that the lack of production value or TikTok choreography in Jordan’s videos is what makes them so endearing. The close-up confessionals, lauded by James Corden, Anderson Cooper and The View, have a breezy gay-uncle vibe.
“Honey, I conquered Netflix. I watched ’em all. I watched the one about the tigers. I watched the one about the boy who tortured kittens. I watched the one about the nun who was murdered in 1969. There’s nothing left for me to watch,” Jordan cracks in another video. “But I’m not about to turn on the news. They will make you think it’s the end of the world.”
Told by a friend that he’d gone viral, Jordan said on E!: “No, honey, I’m fine. I’m here at mamma’s. … I don’t have that virus.”
The Instagram poet, author, TedTalkerand so-called “millennial Oprah” was already breathing new life into the self-help space, but when a long-overdue racial reckoning began rippling across the country, Wade’s words became even more urgent. After the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, one of Wade’s passages swept Instagram, and was cited in political speeches and open letters to white friends: “The world will say to you, ‘We need to end racism.’ Start by healing it in your own family. The world will say to you, ‘How do we speak to bias and bigotry?’ Start by having the first conversation at your own kitchen table.” Her book, Where to Begin, is being held up anew as necessary anti-racist reading.
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