Nate James, 24, is a member of TikTok’s The Basement Gang, a group who uses dance to show off different music and dance styles from all around the world.
The Basement Gang was never meant to blow up, according to James. In 2019, they filmed themselves dancing for the first time but it was not until 2020 when they decided to post the video.
In May 2020, the first video was edited and all the members of the group really enjoyed it and since they all thought it was funny a member of the gang decided to post it on his account with about 10 followers, according to James.
“Then (I) woke up in the morning (and) it had a million views,” says James.
The group knew right from the beginning they wanted to be inclusive and diverse with all their content. The first video they ever posted was to a Spanish song.
“We get inspiration from basically like being Canadian and also living in like Toronto Mississauga area you go to school it’s like people of every culture around you,” says James.
Growing up, this environment influenced them to be inclusive. They’ll dance using music from all over because they have friends who represent those cultures, according to James.
“Appreciate their culture and put our own little twist on it,” he says.
Using their platform to showcase diversity felt like the right thing to do to help bring attention to other cultures, the same way you would want people to bring attention to yours, according to James.
Kadeem Hemmings, 24, another member of The Basement Gang, can’t remember when he started dancing with James because they’ve known each other since high school.
Hemmings believes the Basement Gang’s content showcases enough diversity compared to other content on the app.
“I feel like no one really does stuff like we do,” says Hemmings
Hemmings believes their account helps people from all over relate to them especially in such a multicultural place like North America.
“If you need something to just kind of pick you up, uplift your spirits, I think our accounts just a good way to take that mental break and just laugh,” says Hemmings.
Whenever a new TikTok is uploaded, the comments are always flooded with fans who love what they are watching.
“As a minority going on TikTok, it’s not very common to come across an account like that where they do show a lot more diversity and incorporate different cultures, it’s really refreshing,” says Amanda Lee, a Basement Gang follower who identifies as Chinese.
Lee points out being Canadian makes The Basement Gang’s content so “impactful” because of how many different ethnicities there are in Canada.
“Having an account like that is so important, their content is so positive, and it brings people together,” says Lee. “As a whole they’re bringing together a community and using their platform to help spread an important message with a solid fanbase.”
James doesn’t have future plans for the group. The Basement Gang members just like to “go with the flow” because that’s what they have done so far and so far it has worked. As of December 8, their account has 4.1 million followers.
Some ideas for future plans include events to meet people such as followers who helped the gang blow up on TikTok. Then there are the wedding invites.
“No word of a lie like 300 plus direct messages like ‘Hey, my wedding is this weekend, come’ or ‘My wedding is next year’,” says James.
As the account continues to gain momentum, The Basement Gang’s appreciation for their followers grows as well.
“If I had to say what I want people to feel after they watch our videos … (it’s) happy I guess and just taking away from the bad parts of the world,” says James.