A 23-year-old entrepreneur in New York says he "can't really fathom" the fame he's achieved on TikTok after chronicling himself annoying his dad.
Uyi Omorogbe told BuzzFeed News he started filming the videos in April to bring attention to his brand after seeing TikTok become more and more popular.
"What if I could create a really big audience and set it around African culture and accumulate an audience of my target market?" he said.
His aim was to post funny videos that people would engage with, build a following, and introduce them to his brand.
"I think Nigerian parents are just funny in general," Omorogbe said. "So I was like, let me message my dad and get it on video and see if people think it's funny."
He said it took about a week for the initial video to start getting likes; when he saw that it was amusing people, he posted more. Now his account has 1.8 million followers from just 13 TikToks.
In the videos, he does very impromptu pranks which last for seconds, most of them involving music. Omorogbe said making the videos is helping him discover more things that he likes doing, like singing and acting.
"It's definitely opened up a lot of doors, and a lot of celebrities have been fans of the content and stuff, so it's been awesome," he said.
Omorogbe said his favorite video to make was the one where he eats food off his dad's plate. He said doing that when he was younger is almost unthinkable.
"But now our relationship is, like, so much different now. We're just much closer," he said. "I think that was the first video that really blew up."
Some of Omorogbe's favorite responses have included celebrities like Dwayne Wade and Skai Jackson. He also loves going through the comments and seeing people just laughing and enjoying the videos.
"Some people are saying, 'Quarantine has been really hard for me and, you know, I've been going through some rough patches, but when I see your videos, they really turn my day around,'" he said.
But he still has a hard time coming to terms with the popularity of his videos, which go viral each time.
"Some of the videos have, like, 35 million views, which is hard to even imagine," he said. "Like, how many that is — I still can't really fathom it."
His dad was initially very annoyed at the videos, but Omorogbe showed him the responses.
"He was like, 'Oh, I don't know, it's a zero-sum game; why are you really doing this?'" Omorogbe said. "I mean, it looks like I annoy him a lot, but I only do it once every few days so that I can get a good reaction out of him."
The videos are also a group effort that includes his little sister as the camera operator.
"From a family point of view, it's funny to see how much attention it's getting," he said. "And kind of not how oblivious my parents are to it, but they just don't really like it."
Omorogbe said he has a very good relationship with his dad, who is the main source of his inspiration for his fashion company, Naso, which donates to efforts to create educational and economic opportunities in Africa.
Omorogbe created Naso while he was in college after becoming interested in marrying his Western and African backgrounds through fashion.
"I started pursuing the business full time after school and then, you know, partnered with Banana Republic with a pop-up shop," he said.
It all started when Omorogbe went to Nigeria during his senior year to make some clothing samples and visit the village his father grew up in.
"I came across the school that he attended, his primary school, and I was shocked at what I saw," Omorogbe said. "It was a place with no desks, no chairs, no windows, bathrooms. No student should be learning there, no teacher should be teaching there."
He also bonded with the students.
"They were amazing," he said. "And honestly it's just by [a] stroke of luck that I'm not in that village right now."
Omorogbe said he raised money and sold clothes through a Kickstarter campaign in 2018 and later rebuilt the school.
For now, he said, he is focusing on Nigeria but hopes to expand in the future.
"Nigeria is definitely the place we are focusing as of now," he said, "but we manufacture in East Africa as well. So it's about empowering the entire continent."