Like most of the biggest internet stars of her generation, Khadi Don’s fame came as a surprise to the world and herself. Using her natural talents for impersonation and writing she built a following large enough to justify and support a move to LA.
Now an internet sketch comedy and writing veteran she’s ready to explore new ground and follow a long-time passion for acting. I sat down with her to speak about her acting career, being a black woman in entertainment, and finding healing after the tragic murder of her brother in 2021.
What followed was a deeply open and honest conversation with an artist learning to be fearless and have fun again after tragedy.
TB: Hi Khadi, so what made you decide that this was going to be a career for you? Why comedy?
Khadi: Naturally I’ve always been funny. My family members are hilarious especially my mom, so it was in my blood. My mom would tell me stories of the things I would do and say as a child, so it made sense. It became a career for me once I began going viral on Vine. It started oﬀ being just for fun then I started getting approached by companies and networks, so things became real for me. It went from just jokes to paying my bills.
TB: It’s a really great time for black women in comedy right now, there’s a lot of what feels like an upswing, are you feeling these opportunities and change in your own career?
Khadi: I for sure feel the shift. In the beginning, I believe black women in comedy were always there but there wasn’t a wide scale of the opportunity. Now, especially after so much discrimination and lack of recognition, we’re ﬁnally getting some. I still think there is a lot of room to grow but I’ll take the subtle change we’re receiving. Black women are hilarious as well as genius creators and we deserve our ﬂowers.
TB: Absolutely, also my favorite video of yours is the On The Run skit with Joanne The scammer. How do you choose collaborators and how do you know when it’s right?
Khadi: That’s such a classic piece. I’m honored to have been a part of that I love Joanne so much. It depends on if I’m approached by the artist themself or a company. A company is a little bit easier to accept or deny collaborations.
When people directly ask me – it can be harder because I don’t want to come oﬀ as an asshole. But I always know based oﬀ of the content that they currently make if I ﬁnd them funny myself or our relationship. My friends, I have no problem collaborating with my. For example, Joanne. But if someone who does PG-13 or children’s content were to ask I would have to say “no” because of how my content is. My supporters have no ﬁlter they would call it out so fast.
TB: Excitingly you’ve been dipping your toe into acting. What’s that transition been like from comedian and influencer to actress?
Khadi: I would be lying if I said it was easy. Being that I’m categorized as a comedian/Inﬂuencer, we somewhat have a bad rep. Many don’t believe “Inﬂuencers” take the craft seriously. In my case, I’ve been taking acting classes since High School. I went to college for Fine Arts and Performance Arts before I seriously got into comedy. But thankfully I’ve been allowed the opportunity to act in shows, movies, and commercials and given that chance to broadcast my skills. I still do comedy, but I’m headed in a more serious direction now.
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TB: So, what’s your ideal movie or series project? Let’s put it out in the Universe.
Khadi: Wow I have so many. For sure a sketch comedy show, it’s a must. I have so many ideas that need to be brought to life on a bigger scale and budget, I know I could make Dave Chappelle proud. But outside of comedy something like a thriller or horror. Those are my favorite genres. Not to give it all away but I want to do something that is a cousin to American Horror Story with stories related to my gender and/or race, even Black Mirror. Think about social media shutting down, it sounds crazy but thinks of a world that out of the blue loses all social media access. Sounds like an apocalypse to me. Jordan Peele – call me. I have tons and tons of ideas. My brain never shuts oﬀ. On a more toned-down scale, a project depicting dating would be fun.
TB: It’s surprising how much information there is about you and your life online considering you started out on Vine. Does it ever get overwhelming and how do you adjust to a career that keeps growing?
Khadi: At ﬁrst, I was petriﬁed. I’m an ambivert, So when it comes to my personal life I’m extremely introverted but when it comes to my job and having fun I’m extroverted. But people are so interested in my dating life, my family, and especially my dogs. I would gate keep them in the beginning because they’re so precious to me and the internet can be a cruel place, but it wouldn’t be fair to the supporters that really love me and just wanna know if I like grits with sugar or salt.
I adjust by not taking things so seriously or to heart. People will say anything to get under your skin and for every rude person there are a hundred more who care about you. Also, the book “The Subtle art of not giving a fuck” helped a lot.
TB: You were very open about the loss of your brother in 2021, what inﬂuenced the choice to be so open and where are you and your family in your path toward healing?
Khadi: My friends and family helped me a lot. I didn’t even want to break the news to the world, but I felt it was my duty. My brother means the world to me as much as I was an inﬂuence to him, he was a very huge one to me. He wasn’t fearful of anything and lived his life to the fullest. I wanted to share his stories, our stories, and let people ride with me during this journey of grief. There are so many layers and chapters to grief.
Right now we’re in the middle of a trial for the justice of my baby brother which was granted. Both parties are indeed guilty. It doesn’t take the pain away, but it helps a lot. Now we are at the stage of being able to heal and get the truth out there. During the loss of my brother, my best friend and manager also lost their brothers which was crazy to me. We all felt like through the strength of whatever you believe in you can be a vessel to help others in your same position. Show them that even someone like me can endure pain and am able to still put a smile on my face. I’m going to start nonproﬁts, and organizations for those in the same position as me. Whether it’s being a victim of murder or just a loss in general. I want to heal but while doing so be a light for others.
TB: Who’s your support structure right now – who’s making sure you’re stay above the water?
Khadi: My mother, my person, my dog Teddy, my manager, close family members, my best friends, and supporters. I could be having a super bad day and a fan will come up to me saying how much they love me and how they’ve been a fan since Vine. That it’s okay to take my time and they’re not going anywhere and can’t wait for my return. Things like that push me forward. My family and friends are super supportive on the days I feel like giving up. They speak life into me, talk to me for hours, buy me books, send podcasts, and quotes, or take me outside to nature. It’s unbelievable how much they show up for me and my mother. I’m so appreciative of them and don’t know what I’d do without them. Even Teddy bites my leg pulls me out of bed or lifts my head up when I’m crying like “mommy it’s gonna be okay get up and play with me”. I’m truly thankful.
TB: I’m just glad you have that amount of love and support around you. So, when you’re not working and creating what do you enjoy doing, do you still paint?
Khadi: I love nature and learning new skills. I taught myself guitar, wood crafts, and rug making recently got into surﬁng, and doing tattoos. I still paint even though I need to more. Literally anything. Except for the gym. I need to get into that more. But I do like to hike, skateboard, roller-skate, and play basketball. I’m just a big kid that will do just about anything. I love doing anything that is good energy and fun.
TB: So where are we going in 2023, what are the plans for Khadi Don?
Khadi: My plan is to stop letting fear take hold of me and show the world what I’m really capable of. I would always dumb down my actual talent and broadcast what people already knew. Thinking no one would take me seriously and just laugh. But I have a lot of tricks and surprises in store. People close to me already know and have witnessed but I can’t wait to catch everyone by surprise. It’s more to me than just comedy and skits. I’m an artist that just experienced a few bumps in the road early on but we’re gonna apply some stitches, heal, and keep moving forward. I will say be on the lookout for a ﬁlm that I wrote.
TB: As a fan, I feel like I need to ask you this before we ﬁnish, have you met Mary j Blige yet?
Khadi: I have not, unfortunately! But we made eye contact and she smiled a few years ago. I was too scared to go up and speak to her at the premiere of Power. I saw her another time but again I was too scared to speak. She has seen my videos and laughed but no actual encounter yet. Fingers crossed that we do soon. That means I have to take my Mary boots out of the closet and drop a new video.
story / Sisa Zekani (The Titan Baddie)
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