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Everyone Needs to Watch D’Angelo Wallace’s “INFLUENCER-19” Video Essay

Since last summer, the public eye has been focused on the myriads of celebrities, influencers and social media personalities letting COVID-19 concerns fall by the wayside. Frequent super spreading activities like partying and traveling have become commonplace among these people to the harm of themselves, those close to them and their greater communities. At the beginning of February, YouTuber D’Angelo Wallace uploaded an essay regarding this activity and its greater ramifications titled “INFLUENCER-19,” where he analyzes and comments on these happenings.

He starts the video off by detailing some of the aforementioned activities by celebrities, not limited to Kim Kardashian’s island birthday surprise and Kendall Jenner’s Halloween costume party. After the family was slammed for the first and then again chose to go through with the second, they were still on the offensive, saying that they were “trying to follow the rules” to stop the spread of the virus.

“I don’t understand why you need to try to do the right thing,” said Wallace in a comment, “when you can just simply do the right thing.”

He circles around to talk about the ever-apparent wealth gap between the general public and people like the Kardashians, who have shown time and time again through this pandemic (in like, the flashiest possible ways) that they can afford to not give a f*ck about the virus, and you cannot.

He goes on to talk about the rampant partying and gathering among influencers and YouTubers, especially in Los Angeles, a persistent COVID hotspot. Over the past months, many have been on a seemingly endless cycle of partying, being called out, apologizing, rinsing and repeating, and D’Angelo tells it all perfectly coolheaded. It’s the same story again and again, and still, it won’t stop happening.

The bottom line of the video is that these celebrities (although some may be hesitant to describe them like that) have shown a disturbing disregard for the safety and wellbeing of others and prioritizing not only their own wants but showing themselves to have a lack of empathy.

He also points out at multiple points in the video that the audiences of many of these people, primarily those of TikTok fame, are composed almost entirely of young children. Young children who are being told by their favorite influencers—their idols—that COVID isn’t something to be concerned with when they see them throwing house parties and traveling.

One of the most important points he makes throughout the video is that this whole situation where the rich and famous seem to be immune to the virus (which they’re not, they just don’t care) is a grave reminder of just how this pandemic is affecting the average person. While the D’Amelio’s are on the beaches of the Bahamas, your neighbor can’t host a funeral for their relative who died from COVID. While Jason Nash is parading around Los Angeles making videos to pad his already mammoth paycheck, your sister just lost her job and might never get her finances back in place. While influencers were partying, we were dying.

Watch the video here.

Emily Richardson is a psychology and sociology double major at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has contributed to a number of independent publications and has a passion for music, writing, and social issues.
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